The New England Patriots’ decision to trade Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday has seemingly put an end to the talk about Rob Gronkowski being traded. Going forward, the main issue between Gronk and the team could be contract-related.
Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who still has connections to the team and the local media, told TMZ this week that he believes most of Gronkowski’s frustration stems from wanting a raise.
“I definitely think he’s frustrated with the money that he gets when you look at what he does,” Wiggins said. “I think he should be getting paid the same amount of money as guys like Antonio Brown, in my opinion. He’s more valuable, to me, than a guy like Antonio Brown, who’s a great wide receiver. (Gronkowski) should be getting paid $15 or $16 million per year. He’s not, so there’s definitely that frustration there.”
Wiggins went on to say that Gronkowski is “by far” more valuable than the top wideouts in the game like Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr.
“The things that you can do with him — you can line him up outside like a wide receiver and it’s always a mistmatch,” Wiggins added. “You might be able to shut down Julio Jones or shut down Odell Beckham, but when you talk about a player like Rob Gronkowski, the NFL has never seen anything like him. … By far he’s the most dangerous player in the NFL outside the quarterback position.”
Gronkowski’s base salary for 2018 is $8 million. That places him among the top-paid tight ends in the NFL, but it is $2 million less than the average Jimmy Graham is getting with the three-year, $30 million deal he signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Last year, Gronk restructured his contract so that he had more than $5 million in incentives built in for 2017. He ended up earning all of them and making nearly $11 million, but he probably feels he should not have to deal with escalators in his contract going forward.
The situation with Gronk could be a lot like Le’Veon Bell’s contract negotiations with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Gronk is one of the highest-paid players at his position, he probably feels he should be paid more like the highest-paid wide receivers with the type of impact he makes. He is also said to be having some issues with Bill Belichick. At the end of the day, a respectable raise could make everyone happier.