Brady: 'You gotta make mistakes'

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Brady: 'You gotta make mistakes'

FOXBORO - Earlier on Wednesday, we spoke to Bill Belichick about Ryan Mallett's missteps in practice this summer.

Belichick went into solid detail about the need to make those mistakes on the practice field.

Tom Brady amplified that Wednesday afternoon.

"To be a good player you gotta make mistakes," he insisted. "And if you're not in the situation to make mistakes, then when you do get the opportunity you're gonna make 'em. So hopefully you get the opportunity in practice, rather than in front of 70,000 people. So when you drop back and evaluate the coverage and you make a read or you make a throw and it gets tipped and intercepted, hopefully you go into that week's game and see the same look and say, 'Nope, not throwing it.' Or you get the same look and you rip it because you have confidence you can do it."

Brady's ascent to superstardom has been well documented. Lost in the narration though, is the fact that Brady went through a significant rough patch in 2002.

Over a three-game stretch, Brady threw seven picks and the Patriots lost each game. He threw just five interceptions over the final nine games.

Even though he'd won a Super Bowl earlier that year, he was still in the learning stage of what he could and could not get away with.

"It's about being being in the situation in practice with a lot of pressure because Belichick puts a lot of pressure on, and you go out there and try not to make the same mistake twice. You can make them once, but he gets pissed when you make' em twice."

Hearing Brady unleash an obscenity after a practice pick is a rite of late summer. But he does point out that they are inevitable.

"You dont want to come out here and throw a bunch of interceptions, but at the same time its not a game so you want to install things and see how they work and try to give guys an opportunity to go out and catch the ball and make plays on the ball," he said. "So you probably do some things this time of year that you wouldn't normally do, but at the same time you're trying to make good decisions, read the coverage, and give the ball to the right guy."

He again emphasized the learning aspect.

"You gotta make the mistakes to learn from them," he explained. "And you never know how tight a window is until you throw it and it was too tight. So you try to force the ball into certain areas and then you learn from it and you say 'I can't do that.' You install new plays and you try to run them over and over and you try to identify all the problems where they come up and really make good decisions."

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.