Received the official contract numbers for Rob Gronkowski from a league source.
Things we didn't know before:
- The true guarantee, if Gronkowski forgot how to play football and had to be cut, is $12 million. There's another $5 million guaranteed in 2015 against injury (skill if on the roster the 5th day of the 2015 league year)
- Workout bonuses of $30,000 for 2012 and '13; $250,000 for '14-19. That tells me they want the hard-partying Gronk to have a lot of reason to be around the facility.
- The $10 million option must be picked up by the final day of the 2015 league year (Feb. 28, 2016), which I think would spread the cap hit over the final five years of the deal.
- The deal also includes per-game active roster bonuses totaling $500,000 in '16 and '17 ($31,250 per game), and $750,000 ($46,875 per game) in '18 and '19. This further insures the Patriots on the health of Gronkowski, who had back surgery his final year in college.
Here's how the deal works out:
All in all, it's a pretty fair deal to both sides but the backside still troubles me for Gronkowski. I'm not crazy about giving the team control of Gronkowski's destiny until he's 31. He'll miss his window for a mega contract in his 20s. Who has any idea what the salary cap is going to look like then? As it stands right now, he'd make $9,250,000 per year the final four years if he plays all 16 games every game. That's by far the top of the market right now at max value...but that's four years down the road and the tight end position is just now ascending as far as the importance of the game.
What I don't get is why the deal isn't just a two-year extension. That part is more than fair to both sides. Gronkowski gets a fair wage and the Patriots get two more years in return. Then you recalibrate the deal in '15 or '16.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus probably agreed to the back end because the $4.6 million average the first four years would probably be ridiculed by other agents (though I think that would be unfair). Throwing in a $9,250,000 average in the final four years -- even though he may not see it -- makes the total package look that much better (hence the 'richest contract for a tight end' business).
Gronkowski received the richest contract extension for a tight end in league history (six years, $54 million). But he may not even see $37 million of it.