Key dates in the Aaron Hernandez saga

Key dates in the Aaron Hernandez saga

BOSTON -- Key dates in the case of Aaron Hernandez:

  • June 8, 2010: Hernandez, a standout tight end drafted from the University of Florida, signs a four-year contract with the New England Patriots.
  • Jan. 1, 2012: He sets a career best with 138 receiving yards in a win over Buffalo.
  • July 16, 2012: Two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, are shot to death in their car as they wait at a red light in Boston's South End neighborhood.
  • Aug. 27, 2012: Hernandez signs a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots.
  • February 2013: An associate, Alexander Bradley, is shot in the face in Florida. Bradley files a lawsuit alleging that Hernandez shot him after they argued at a strip club.
  • June 17, 2013: The body of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, is found about a mile from Hernandez's mansion in North Attleboro.
  • June 26, 2013: Hernandez is arrested on a murder charge in Lloyd's slaying and taken from his home in handcuffs. He later pleads not guilty. The Patriots release him hours after his arrest.
  • May 15, 2014: Hernandez is indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the shootings of de Abreu and Furtado. His lawyers say he is innocent.
  • May 28, 2014: Hernandez pleads not guilty to charges in connection with the deaths of de Abreu and Furtado. A prosecutor says Hernandez was angry because de Abreu accidentally bumped into him at a nightclub while dancing, spilling his drink.
  • Jan. 9, 2015: Hernandez goes on trial for murder in Lloyd's killing.
  • April 7, 2015: Prosecutors and Hernandez's lawyers present their closing statements and the case goes to the jury.
  • April 15, 2015: Hernandez is convicted of first-degree murder; carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
  • Feb. 14, 2017: Hernandez goes on trial for murder in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
  • April 6, 2017: Prosecutors and Hernandez's lawyers present their closing arguments.
  • April 7, 2017: The jury begins deliberating.
  • April 14, 2017: Hernandez acquitted of murder in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
  • April 19, 2017: Hernandez found hanging by a bed sheet in his prison cell, dies at hospital.

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.