Patriots

Curran: Why Gronk's extension makes sense for him

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Curran: Why Gronk's extension makes sense for him

When you look at the guts of Rob Gronkowski's six-year, 54 million extension as detailed by Mike Florio, a couple of things jump out right away as to why Gronk took the bait now rather than wait to hit free agency after 2013.

The first is that, over the next four years, Gronkowski will make 18.23 million guaranteed.

Since he was due to make 1.1 million over the next two seasons and then could have been in line for two seasons of franchise tagging at (ballpark) about 12 million, Gronkowski is sparing himself the drama and the headaches. He's also ensuring himself 18 million instead of about 13.1 million.

Any Patriot with a little bit of awareness can see that, when the Patriots have the hammer, they will use it. Whether it's Wes Welker, Logan Mankins, Deion Branch, Vince Wilfork or Tom Brady, if you don't like their terms, you will be franchised.

Gronkowski has guaranteed that he won't have to trust that the Patriots do the right thing.

In signing this extension, though, Gronkowski is trading the chance to make top dollar in exchange for security. He will play the next two years on his rookie deal (with modest salary raises), then be under contract through 2019 when he'll be 30 years old. There is an option the Patriots face in 2016, according to Florio: The team can spend 10 million and pick up the final four years of his deal.

So it's really two deals -- a two-year extension to his rookie deal and another four-year deal worth about 37 million.

The other interesting aspect of this deal has roots in something Robert Kraft said earlier this offseason. Traditionally, veteran salaries have risen dramatically in the NFL since 2006. And this offseason was an example of that, especially at the wideout position. But Kraft indicated that salary growth will be slow and steady in coming years.

There's been much debate as to whether Kraft's prediction is accurate but -- given the man's business acumen -- I'd tend to believe he's mostly accurate.

So that's worth remembering as well when folks question whether Gronkowski is leaving significant money on the table by signing now.

And money is likely being left on the table. Agreeing to be under Patriots control through 2019 for 55-million (including the remaining salaries on his deal), means Gronk is going to make less than 7 million per season. And Jermichael Finley signed a two-year, 14 million extension with the Packers this offseason. So salaries will have to remain completely flat for Gronk to still be at market value in 2019.

Other dynamics are caused by this signing. For instance, Aaron Hernandez -- whose rookie deal expires in 2014 -- may be in line for the franchise tag down the road. And that will lead to a discussion of whether he's a tight end or wide receiver.

Also, Wes Welker sees cash go out while he waits for his own extension. But that's much less significant when one sees Gronk signing through 2019.

Finally, it's worth wondering how strident the Patriots were in stressing to Gronkowski that he has to be a little more cautious in his personal life.

Nobody's having a better time than Gronk. But the more he's out there -- and now with a lot more money to burn -- the greater the chance innocent fun in a bar, dance club or poolside goes awry.

In other words, don't go changin' Gronk. But bring a chaperone.

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."

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Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

FOXBORO -- Chris Hogan only had one catch for 19 yards against the Jets. He very nearly had a second grab in the second quarter, but Tom Brady's throw was off the mark, and Hogan's ribs were exposed for rookie safety Marcus Maye to hammer. The pass fell incomplete and Hogan crumpled to the turf. 

He didn't leave the game, but Hogan did end up on Wednesday's injury report as a limited participant in practice due to a ribs injury. He was one of three players added to this week's injury report. Linebacker Elandon Roberts has an ankle injury and did not participate in Wednesday's workout. Guard Shaq Mason has a shoulder issue and was limited. 

Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore, neither of whom were spotted at the start of the session, did not participate.

Here's Wednesday's full practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle)
LB Harvey Langi (back)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)

ATLANTA FALCONS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
K Matt Bryant (back)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
OLB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring)
LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring)
LB Deion Jones (quadricep)
DE Takk McKinley (shoulder)
LB Duke Riley (knee)
WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring)
DL Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee)