Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Patriots restructured Gronkowski's contract so that he has the opportunity to be the highest-paid tight end in the league. On his Facebook page, Schefter broke down Gronk's new deal, which is broken into separate tiers. If all goes well, Gronk could earn $10.75 million.
Here's what Schefter reported:
First tier, which gets him to $10.75M either 90 percent play time, 80 catches, 1,200 receiving yards or All-Pro -- and he's made All-Pro four times.
Second tier to $8.75M: he has to get 80 percent play time, 70 catches, 1,000 receiving yards or 12 TDs.
Third tier takes him to $6.75M is 70 percent play time, 60 receptions, 800 receiving yards or 10 TDs.
If Gronkowski can stay healthy, he'll have a legitimate chance to land in the top tier. The last time he appeared in all 16 games in a season (2011), Gronk caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards. When he played in 15 games in 2015, he fell eight catches short of 80 and 24 yards short of 1,200. In a 15-game season in 2014, he met the standards with 82 catches.
It really will come down to his health, which has been erratic in his seven-year career. Since entering the league, he's played in 88 of 112 possible regular-season games. Last year, his season ended with back surgery.
But when he's on the field, he's an unstoppable force. He's already scored a very nice 69 touchdowns in his career, which means he's averaging 0.78 touchdowns per game. Tony Gonzalez, widely considered the game's greatest tight end, averaged 0.41 touchdowns per game over his 17-year career.
Again, Gronk's financial future and legacy in the NFL comes down to his health. If he can stay on the field, he'll go down as the greatest tight end ever. He'll also make a nice bundle of money, starting with more than $10 million next season.