Wilfork: Time to get back to work

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Wilfork: Time to get back to work

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; When Vince Wilfork speaks, people listen.

In case you werent aware after watching Thursday morningswalkthrough at Gillette Stadium to open up 2011 training camp, the Patriotsdefensive lineman clarified afterwards that it was indeed time to get back towork.

Im just happy to be back, said Wilfork. Its been a longtime for all of us, and I know for myself. Its time to get to work. We have alot in front of us right now. Its going to take us a great deal of commitment,to get to where we want to be.

Thats where were at now. It started with the meetings,and the walkthrough. And you know what? Lets start putting it together.

Wilfork acknowledged that there were no advantages aroundthe league, with regards to being ready for the regular season. But he didstress the importance of putting it all together as quick as possible.

Only thingthat matters now is, how quickly we can get into good shape and play somefootball, said Wilfork. Play some good football, and come out here and workevery day. Thats what were striving to do.

I think everybodys starting in the same situation,Wilfork later added. You just have to take it one day at a time. I mean, wedont know. We dont know until we actually get out on the field, put it alltogether and see where were at. And Ill tell you what, were not the onlyteam thats like that. Its going to be like that around the NFL. So thequicker you can get in the groove, the quicker you can make a commitment to yourteammates and to this team and this organization, the better well be.

As a veteran leader on the team, Wilfork didnt give anyspecial treatment or make excuses for the rookies or incoming free agents. Atthis stage, everybody needs to be on the same page.

Everythings different, said Wilfork. The train is goingto move, regardless of what. And you better jump on board, because its notslowing down anytime right now.

Or main focus right now is to get in these books, get inour playbook, get acclimated with everything new thats going on. And you knowwhat? Its there. Theres nothing we can do about it.

What matters right now, is how quick we can get in thisfilm room, get in this playbook, and come out here and put it together. Thatswhat our focus is.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.