Gronk negotiations may not go over big with some fellow Patriots

Gronk negotiations may not go over big with some fellow Patriots

FOXBORO – Word that the Brothers Rosenhaus, agents for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, were in Foxboro on Sunday and talking with the team about a new deal is a good news/bad news story for the Patriots locker room. 

The good news? Gronk is trending toward being the best tight end in NFL history. Even though he’s under contract through 2019, he’s making peanuts in salary this year ($2.25 million – 16th among the league’s tight ends) relative to his contribution level. Redoing the six-year, $54M deal he signed in 2012 so that his cashflow is in line with tight ends at the top of the pay scale is a smart move, since there’s no reason to agitate Gronk or the bottom-line conscious folks around him.

The bad news? Gronk should be about fifth or sixth in line when it comes to getting a new deal. Patriots really playing at a cut rate, guys that haven’t gotten lucrative “second” contracts as Gronk has may respond with a united “WTF?” when they learn of the words “Gronk” and “extension” in the same sentence.

The list of miffed could include – in order of possible irritation – Malcolm Butler ($600K this year), Jamie Collins ($917K), Donta Hightower ($7.7M but having made $11M in his first four years), Jabaal Sheard ($4M at the end of two-year $11M deal), Logan Ryan ($1.6M) and Duron Harmon ($1.665M). All of those players are up at the end of 2016.

Before I type another paragraph I have to point out  Rosenhaus is one of the NFL’s great propagandists.

Everyone knows Gronk’s deal is outdated. Everyone knows who negotiated it for him. Every time the laughable 2016 salary Gronk will make is brought up, it reflects poorly on Rosenhaus.

So, there’s a chance Rosenhaus is stomping out that smoldering fire of, “Wow, you really got Gronk playing for $2.5M still?” by swinging through Foxboro and letting it be known negotiations are underway.

The disclaimer from NFL Media’s Mike Garafalo’s source that a new deal is “not imminent” gives him a measure of cover with the team because the Patriots front office likes contract leaks less than urinary tract infections.  

Unless Rosenhaus “getting it out there” that there are talks came with the Patriots blessing in an effort to satisfy Gronk’s always vigilant father, Gordie Gronkowski, that something’s being done. There’s a lot of care and feeding that goes into one iconic tight end.  

But the simple news there are Gronk negotiations is the greater message. And if the aforementioned players haven’t seen movement on their own new deals – and things weren’t speeding along on those fronts earlier this summer – who could blame them for being irked?

It’s been a little while since the Patriots had full-blown contract agita. That used to be an annual occurrence with every big-name player – Milloy, Law, Seymour, Vinatieri, Brady, Welker, Harrison, Moss, Wilfork and Mankins.

But the landscape right now is similar to those years. Most similar to 2009 when both Vince Wilfork and Logan Mankins were waiting on new deals. Wilfork – who was really getting jobbed on his six-year rookie contract – escalated the rhetoric and talked about leaving New England before getting his new deal.

At first, Mankins rolled with that, saying, “I signed a contract. I was the one who signed it, so I feel obligated to be here and practicing. Until I don’t have a contract, I’m here to play. . . . Vince’s situation is different than mine. He’s a year older, he’s played a year more than me, so he’s looking at it in a different way than I am. I don’t blame him for what he’s doing. He’s a good guy, a good teammate, he’s always been good to the franchise. He has to do what he has to do.”

But when Mankins was kept waiting for his deal and watching others get new ones, he eventually broke a bit, saying, “You see other guys signing extensions, and you wish you were one of those guys with an extension. It is what it is, I guess. You’ll have to ask the powers that be around here if I’m going to get one or not. Because I don’t know.” 

By the start of 2010, Mankins was holding out and had declared verbal war on the Patriots in a way no other pissed-off Patriot ever had.

That worked out in the end. And all these deals – Butler, Hightower and Collins at the fore – may as well. But it doesn’t mean this “Gronk negotiation” news will pass without notice.

Patriots stay busy, reportedly sign Patrick Chung to extension

Patriots stay busy, reportedly sign Patrick Chung to extension

The Patriots have been busy in the last 48 hours. They made a trade to bring in a second McCourty. They signed a defensive end, a running back and an offensive lineman. And now they're extending one of their own. 

According to NFL Media, the Patriots are signing safety Patrick Chung to a short-term contract extension. Chung was headed into the final year of his contract and was set to earn $2 million in base salary. It's the third extension Chung has signed with New England in a little more than three years. 

Chung, who turns 31 in August, is arguably Bill Belichick's most versatile defender. He is able to play a traditional strong safety role, covering tight ends and backs and playing in run support. He's also been used at the "star" spot to take on opposing slot receivers, and he'll occasionally rush the passer. He's also still a key contributor in the kicking game. 

"The guy is a really good football player," Belichick said of Chung earlier in January. "He’s one of the best players in the league, one of the best players on our team. He does a lot of things very well and has done them that way for a long time. We’re lucky we have him. He’s an outstanding player in all the things that he does. We put a lot on him, and he always comes through."

Chung's second go-round with the Patriots has breathed new life into his career. 

Drafted in the second round in 2009 - with a pick the Patriots picked up by trading Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs - Chung was used in more of a traditional deep safety role. That gig didn't exactly maximize his skill set, and in 2013 he signed with the Eagles to play under his college coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly. 

The Eagles released Chung after one season, and the Patriots re-signed him with a different role in mind. A strong tackler who wasn't afraid to mix it up at the linebacker level, Chung started to be deployed more often in the box. He readily admitted, he welcomed the change to be a little closer to the action. 

In 2015, Chung signed an extension to tack on three years to what was initially a one-year contract. In 2016, he signed another one-year extension. 

"We took the guy in the second round," Belichick said last season. "But it just - for a combination of reasons, I'd say a big part of it [being] mistakes that I personally made - it didn’t work out the way that we hoped it would. But we got it right the second time. I think we've been able to utilize him. I wish we had been able to do that when we initially got him, but it didn’t work out that way. Like I said, I think we finally got it right."


Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots RB Danny Woodhead announces retirement

Former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement after 10 years in the NFL.

The 33-year-old took to Instagram to make it official.

10 years! Wow, God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE! It’s been a wild ride and feel so blessed He allowed me to do what I loved for so long. But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love. First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him my career wouldn’t have been possible. He blessed me with the gifts and He paved the way. All I had to do was follow His plans for my life, and His plans were crazy awesome! Next, I want to thank my wife who has been by my side since freshman year of high school. She has been a rock through all the ups and downs. Sis, Willy, Mae Mae, and Hopie your daddy is going to be home a ton more and I can’t wait! Thanks to my Dad and Mom for always supporting me and showing me that God is first, then everything else will fall into place. Ben, Joel, and Anna thanks for preparing me for the NFL in our backyard games growing up. The dreaded in-laws Steve and Suzie for always being there for me. Chris Gittings (agent) you’re the best and thankful your my brother/uncle! Thank you Jets, Patriots, Chargers, and Ravens! Thanks to all my head coaches (Bob Zohner, Brad Smith, Bill O’Boyle, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Bill Belichick, Mike McCoy, and John Harbaugh) who believed in me! To my rbs coaches (coach skiles, coach reiners, Jimmy Raye, A Lynn, Ivan, Ollie, Ridge, and Thomas) thanks for putting up with me. Thanks to all my teammates from high school till now. Without you guys I never would’ve become who I was as a player. To all my olinemen, you guys deserve the credit for anything that I received credit for. I thank you for helping make my career. To all the trainers, team docs, strength coaches, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, body gurus thanks for making sure I was on the field. To all the people who made my life easier at the facility (ops, pr, equipment staff, cafe workers, custodians) thanks and your work doesn’t go unnoticed. And how could i forget all my fans?! You’re the best and have always felt the love and support! I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few but know that I’m thankful for everything everyone has done on my journey.

A post shared by Danny Woodhead (@teamwoody39) on

Thursday, it was reported the Patriots reached out to Woodhead for a possible reunion. 

The last two seasons have been challenging for him, as he dealt with season-ending injuries in both 2016 with the Chargers and 2017 with the Ravens.

Woodhead finishes his career with 2,238 yards rushing, 2,698 yards receiving, 15 rushing touchdowns and 17 receiving touchdowns.