The Problem

Is there a contract dispute brewing on the fields of Foxboro? After the eruptions following mini camp from Reddit “journalists” and other media members who should know better, the alarms have calmed down to their natural levels of halfway to panic. Reports out of Patriot Place say that while the team and their star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, work towards a contract extension, nothing is imminent. This is not surprising. The Patriots move very slowly with these high-visibility negotiations. Couple that with Gronk’s extensive injury history and multiple years left on his deal and you have the perfect recipe for contentious rumors floating around. It reminds me of the Wilfork years when there were constant starts and stops for a franchise icon looking to maximize his earnings and stay with a team that he loves.

Market Forces

The market is forcing this constant “will he or won’t he” dialogue.  Gronk is grossly underpaid given his on-field production. In 2012 he signed a six-year, $54M dollar deal, the richest at that time for a tight end. Since then, free agency has yielded several contracts that have equaled or his surpassed number 87’s. Contracts for players that don’t equal his offensive statistics, and don’t bring his exceptional blocking ability to the table. Still, the team took a chance on a young prospect with back troubles. They have not been too tough on him despite the numerous missed games and seasons as well as the antics off the field from the well-known reveler.

The Resolution

This deal will likely produce many more rumors and reports of displeasure from one side or the other. The alternative would be for the team to trade away a once-in-a-generation player and one of the most feared weapons in the game. R-E-L-A-X and breathe. This is how the Patriots conduct business. Business that has so far yielded returns of five Superbowl rings.