Looking at how the dough is divvied up among Patriots rivals

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Looking at how the dough is divvied up among Patriots rivals

Earlier today, I took a look at the top of the Patriots pay scale for 2013 and pointed out that Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and Logan Mankins will chew up about 35 percent of the team's cap in 2013.

Also noted was the number of Patriots with cap hits of 3 million or more and the percentage of the cap those players swallowed up.

The Patriots have nine players who'll carry cap hits of more than 3 million into 2013 unless there's some renegotiation done. The nine will take up 65.95 million of the Pats cap of 126.6 million (they are rolling in 5.6 from last year's unused cap space).

Now, a look at the rest of the AFC East and some key teams in the AFC. Obviously, some moves are going to be made. But here's where the teams stood according to NFL figures at the end of the regular season.

Buffalo Bills
2013 cap (with rollover from 2012): 130.9 million

Top 3 hits: Mario Williams (12.4 million), Ryan Fitzpatrick (10.45 million), Chris Kelsay (6.0 million)

Players over 3 million: Williams, Fitzpatrick, Kelsay, Kyle Williams (5.8 million), Stevie Johnson (5.65 million), Marcel Dareus (5.65 million), Mark Anderson (4 million), Nick Barnett (4 million), Brad Smith (4 million), Fred Jackson (3.7 million), C.J. Spiller (3.7 million)

Total hits of players over 3 million: 65.35 million

Moving Parts: Jairus Byrd is a free agent and a candidate to be franchised or re-signed to a generous deal. Fitzpatrick is going to get a shave or a release, though his cap hit will still be more than 7 million, it appears, if he is let go.

New York Jets
2013 cap (with rollover from 2012): 124.5 million

Top 3 hits: David Harris (13 million), Mark Sanchez (12.85 million), Santonio Holmes (12.5 million), Antonio Cromartie (10.75 million)

Players over 3 million: Mark Sanchez (12.85 million), Darrelle Revis (9 million), D'Brickashaw Ferguson (10.7 million), David Harris (13 million), Santonio Holmes (12.5 million), Antonio Cromartie (10.75 million), Nick Mangold (9.1 million), Bart Scott (8.65 million), Calvin Pace (11.6 million), Sione Pouha (6.2 million), Jason Smith (12 million),

Total hits of players over 3 million: 116.35 million

Moving Parts: Insane. One caveat: Jason Smith, acquired by trade with the Rams, is the only guy who isn't the Jets stupidity. Meanwhile, the team has valued free agents in Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene and -- to a lesser degree -- LaRon Landry.

Miami Dolphins
2013 cap (with rollover from 2012):126.4 million

Top 3 hits: Karlos Dansby (8.58 million), Paul Soliai (7.38 million), Richard Marshall (5.7 million)

Players over 3 million: Karlos Dansby (8.58 million), Cameron Wake (5 million), Paul Soliai (7.38 million), Dimitri Patterson (4.6 million), Richard Marshall (5.77 million), Kevin Burnett (5.7 million), Richie Incognito (5.383 million), Davone Bess (3.43 million), Dan Carpenter (3 million)

Total hits of players over 3 million: 48.77 million

Moving Parts: The Dolphins have some pricey re-signs and decisions looming -- left tackle Jake Long, wide receiver Brian Hartline, corner Sean Smith and maybe Reggie Bush. But overall, they are in excellent shape

Baltimore Ravens
2013 cap (with rollover from 2012): 122.2 million

Top 3 hits: Terrell Suggs (13 million), Haloti Ngata (11.5 million), Anquan Boldin (7.53 million)

Players over 3 million: Haloti Ngata (11.5 million), Terrell Suggs (13 million), Anquan Boldin (7.53 million), Marshal Yanda (7.5 million), Ray Rice (5.75 million), Lardarius Webb (5.38 million), Jacoby Jones (4.9 million), Vonta Leach (4.3 million), Michael Oher (4.255 million), Jameel McLain (4.2 million), Matt Birk (3.4 million), Bernard Pollard (3.25 million).

Total hits of players over 3 million: 74.965 million

Moving Parts: Joe Flacco's going to be re-signed and that's a fat contractcap hit. Birk is unsure if he'll return. Ed Reed is a free agent who wants to come back to the Ravens, he says. They have some hard decisions and requests to make.

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.