Brady: Patriots 'don't take days off'

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Brady: Patriots 'don't take days off'

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - You could tell on Friday morning that Tom Brady really wasn't fired up to stand at the podium and answer questions with the media. But he warmed to the conversation. And one of the most interesting parts was when he explained - urgently - why it's wrongheaded to think the Patriots should just sit their key guys this weekend against the Dolphins. "We're playing," he stated. "That's just the way it is. I don't get into a lot of evaluation why. It's a football game. I'm the starting quarterback on this team so I'll play. I know the other guys take the same approach. I don't think we approach this weekend any differently."When asked a question about overall improvement during this season, Brady used that to circle back to his point about playing this week. "Whatever we do this week will certainly help us down the road," he stated. "That's why we need to be good this week. I don't think you can sit here and say this week's not important. Like this week. We can't say, 'Well, let's just go out there and rest for a week.' Well, how we gonna get better then? We gotta get better today. We got better yesterday. We got better Wednesday. We're gonna have a better team this Sunday and that will certainly help us down the road.
"That's really been a trademark of this team, to make improvements during the season. I don't think we take weeks off.I don't think we take days off. We're always trying to get better." Brady looked at the mental side of dealing with his receivers on Friday morning. After discussing how he deals with Wes Welker when the veteran receiver drops a pass (as he's done on a number ofoccasions this year), Brady talked about Julian Edelman and how he helps the second-year wideout deal with his slide into disuse. "Julian, if anything, he presses maybe too hard," said Brady. "He's very hard on himself, very critical of himself all the time and sometimes I think some players beat themselves up and Julian's one of those guys because he wants to do it so right. He's done an incredible job in that transition to receiver from college quarterback.A lot of learning needs to take place for that transition. Nobody works harder than Julian. He fits right in with that receiver group with Deion Branch and Wes . . . He's a great asset to this team."Asked if he counsels Edelman, who's had a number of drops as well this year, Brady said, "All the time. You always want to see your teammates do well. Dropped balls, they come up. Quarterbacks throw interceptions. Running backs fumble. O-linemen get beat and give up sacks. What do you do going forward? If you can eliminate those mistakes going forward that's important, because you can overcomeone mistake but you can't overcomethree orfour mistakes. And if that one mistake leads to three or four mistakes, that's how you lose games." Earlier in his session, Brady was asked about Welker coming to the Patriots. He said he was "certainly intrigued by him" and that he remembered pushing then-GM Scott Pioli to get Welker when his contract expired. Brady also talked about how he deals with a veteran letting him down as opposed to a younger player. "There's a certain level of respect for veteran players where you don't yell at them like you yell at a rookie," Brady explained. "You try to help a rookie understand the importance of what's going on. And why drops can't happen. How route definition needs to be better.
"With a veteran like Wes, he knows the importance. He knows what he has to do. A lot of it is just trying to encourage. Sometimes you can get under his skin a little bit. I like to feel like I'm in command out there, so I make sure they all know that this is what they're trying to accomplish."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

When it comes to Gronkowski's restructured deal, 15 is the magic number

When it comes to Gronkowski's restructured deal, 15 is the magic number

Rob Gronkowski's contract looked like one of the NFL's best bargains not too long ago. Now, after agreeing to a contract restructure, he could be paid as the top tight end in the league if he stays healthy.

Granted, it's a gargantuan "if."

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Gronkowski's restructured deal will bump his salary for this upcoming season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million should he hit certain statistical thresholds or be named an All-Pro.

Per Schefter, Gronkowski earns $10.75 million if he plays 90 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done once before in his career), or makes 80 catches (which he's done twice), or gains 1,200 yards receiving (once), or is named an All-Pro (three times). 

Those seem like lofty goals for the 28-year-old who's entering his eighth year as a pro. But history shows that if he stays on the field for a full season or thereabouts -- 15 games to be specific -- he'll get to where he wants to be. 

If you take out his rookie year, before he had established himself as a go-to option in the Patriots offense, Gronkowski has played in three seasons during which he's reached at least 15 games. In each of those three seasons, he's been named an All-Pro. In 2011, he hit all three statistical markers. In 2014, he hit one. In 2015, he hit none. 

The lesson? When Gronkowski stays relatively healthy throughout a given season, even if he doesn't reach the astronomical statistical heights he reached in his second year, there's a very good chance he's considered the best tight end in the NFL. 

And if that's the case again in 2017, he'll be paid like the best tight end in the NFL.

To hit the second tier of his restructured deal -- which would pay him $8.75 million, per Schefter -- Gronkowski needs to play 80 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done twice), or make 70 catches (three times), or gain 1,000 receiving yards (three times), or catch 12 touchdowns (twice). 

To hit the third tier of his new deal and get $6.75 million, Gronkowski needs to play 70 percent of the snaps (which he's done four times), or make 60 catches (three times), or gain 800 receiving yards (three times), or score 10 touchdowns (five times). 

According to Spotrac, Jimmy Graham of the Seahawks is currently scheduled to be the tight end position's top earner next season at $10 million. Odds are that if Gronkowski avoids disaster and stays on the field, he'll eclipse that.

But the odds of him staying on the field are what they are: He's played in 15 games in four of seven pro seasons. 

The restructured deal seems to be the ultimate incentive for Gronkowski to get healthy and stay that way following last year's season-ending back surgery. If he can, the Patriots will reap the benefits of having the game's most dynamic offensive weapon on the field, and the player will be paid a far cry from what he was scheduled to make when the week began.

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter. 

Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows. 

The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10.