Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/20/12

Bill Belichick knows when to sign a player, and knows when to let them go, but was it a mistake to give Rob Gronkowski $55 million dollars so soon?

Or was it Bill's experience that he might want to get as much use out of his young tight end in case of system failure? He’s the best tight end in football, and probably the most immature as well.

Gronkowski has been in the news all off-season, but for all the wrong reasons. He’s hailed as a party animal. So was Lawrence Taylor.

Is Gronkowski heading down the wrong path, or is he just having fun? We can’t believe that Bill Belichick is happy about his young tight end‘s actions, but it didn’t deter him from signing him to a long term deal.

While the New England Patriots usually are low key, positive reflections of the organization, Gronk is the opposite of what Belichick wants out of his players off the field. It was nice fiscal move to extend Gronkowski to avoid paying him sky rocketing dollars in future years, with television revenues and the salary cap going up.

The Patriots may have saved as much as $20 million in getting Gronkowski locked up for the long term, but they may have ultimately unleashed a monster. Every picture you see is of Gronkowski with his shirt off, or around topless women or pouring beer on them and in Vegas. This can’t be a good sign, and a cautionary outlook with the history of hard partying football players. Those stories never end good. Sorry, the NFL is loaded with broke party animals, no matter how big of a payday they get.

After injuring his ankle and having surgery after the Super Bowl, Gronkowski has been on a party binge, but what should have stayed in Vegas somehow got out.

At 23, Gronkowski is having fun, but is he having too much fun? This season will show how much off-season partying has affected the tight end. His imposing size makes him a matchup nightmare, but as evidenced in the Super Bowl, a less than 100% Gronkowski is useless to the Patriots offense.

A 23 year-old can withstand drinking and staying up late, and they can even show up to practice or a game hung over. However, it takes its toll over the long run and the constant attention seeking has brought many athletes down.

Sure, there was Joe Namath, and before him Sonny Jurgensen, but those were Quarterbacks, and they weren’t the most athletic in the first place.

Max Magee showed up hung over on Super Bowl Sunday and had the game of his life, but he was a backup who never put a bleep on the radar again.

We go back to LT because he was the best in his field, and he performed great for so many years until drugs and legal woes dragged him down. The Giants knew Taylor was a loose cannon, but as long as he could terrorize opposing QB’s, it was all fine and dandy. When his body and mind became victims of the years of partying, his career was over.

Again, this is a cautionary outlook at a player who hasn’t hit his prime, and is starting to make headlines for the wrong reason. Could the Patriots actually have extended him hoping he’d mature, or to get the most out of him before he burns out?

There was a newsworthy pick up when Belichick picked up Jake Ballard off waivers from the Giants. Ballard will most likely miss the 2012 season with micro fracture surgery on his knee. However, he plays the same position as Gronkowski, and although he’s no match in skill set, he does add intrigue as to why the Patriots would pick up a player at a position that is very deep.

Belichick rarely extends contracts before the last year. The ony exception we can think of was Ty Warren, who he cut at the start of 2011 training camp for being out of shape. Could Belichick see the trouble coming around the bend and getting ahead of it?

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