Patriots to visit with Andre Gurode


Patriots to visit with Andre Gurode

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran So Albert Haynesworth tried to put out a non-existent fire on Andre Gurode's head a few years back? Not Bill Belichick's problem. "Just trying to make the football team better," will be the inevitable response if a planned visit with Gurode comes to pass and the former Dallas Pro Bowler is signed to beef up the interior of the Patriots' offensive line. To Bill, what happens in Tennessee stays in Tennessee. Or Washington. Or wherever something untoward occurred with a current Patriot at a former address. Stick around long enough and you see that the impossible becomes the inevitable where Belichick is concerned. When I saw that Gurode was in danger of being released by the Cowboys, I threw it out there that, "Center Andre Gurode appears to be on the outs in Dallas. Couldn't you just see Belichick signing him?"Who quotes himself in his own story? Nostra-Thomas, baby. It was October of 2006 when Haynesworth took exception to Gurode going at his knees in a game between the Cowboys and Titans. Haynesworth pried the helmet off Gurode and stepped on his head. The ensuing wound meant 30 stitches for Gurode and a five-game suspension for Haynesworth. The two buried the hatchet days later with Gurode saying, "He called me, we spoke on the phone and that was pretty much it. He just apologized. I don't really need a reason. You have to forgive a guy for doing something like that. Just move on and play football." Immediately after the game, Haynesworth said, "For what I did, whatever they give me, I deserve it. I did it, and it's wrong."Let's look at this visit (Gurode won't work out; he had knee surgery in June) on another level. How does it sit with Haynesworth? He knows the interaction between he and Gurode if Gurode signs is going to be a source of intense curiosity. How can it not be? And he also knows that it dredges up an ugly moment from five years ago he will face questions about all over again. While Belichick wouldn't have Gurode in for a looksee if he was an absolute stiff, the fact Belichick will ponder a move that could make Haynesworth's life uncomfortable is further evidence that Belichick's concern is having the best players available on his football team. In Gurode's case, you find out if he's healthy and can help. Then you worry about any other issues later. One can presume that Gurode knows Haynesworth is here and that he could have declined the invitation if he wanted to. And one can also presume that Belichick will ask whether being in the same locker room with Haynesworth poses an issue. Hell, he might have already given Haynesworth a heads-up it. Not asking permission, just letting him know.Football-wise, the 32-year-old Gurode is a five-time Pro Bowler who was due to make 5.5 million with the Cowboys in 2011. Dallas was remaking their line and going young. Gurode, who didn't practice in the first three weeks of camp, was a money and age decision. He's got versatility and can play either center or guard. Currently, the Patriots are thin at the right guard spot with an injury to Dan Connolly. Gurode could also be a backup to Dan Koppen. Tom E. Curran can be reached at 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.