Gronkowski: 'I'm always motivated, no matter what the circumstances are'

Gronkowski: 'I'm always motivated, no matter what the circumstances are'

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski received an incentive-laden contract earlier this offseason, but he said on Monday that he didn't need a restructured contract to want to be on the field. 

"I'm always motivated," he said after Day 1 of mandatory minicamp at Gillette Stadium, "no matter what the circumstances are."


The circumstances are that his salary structure for 2017 was finagled in such a way that he'll be rewarded for remaining healthy and available. Gronkowski's new deal, per ESPN, will bump his salary for this upcoming season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million should he hit certain statistical thresholds or be named an All-Pro.

He'll earn $10.75 million if he plays 90 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done once before in his career), or makes 80 catches (which he's done twice), or gains 1,200 yards receiving (once), or is named an All-Pro (three times). 

The new deal is layered, though, so it's not either $10.75 million or $5.25 million. 

To hit the second tier -- which would pay him $8.75 million -- Gronkowski needs to play 80 percent of the offensive snaps (which he's done twice), or make 70 catches (three times), or gain 1,000 receiving yards (three times), or catch 12 touchdowns (twice). 

To hit the third tier of his new deal and get $6.75 million, Gronkowski needs to play 70 percent of the snaps (which he's done four times), or make 60 catches (three times), or gain 800 receiving yards (three times), or score 10 touchdowns (five times). 

Gronkowski may be motivated no matter what, but the reality is that his contract as previously configured would have paid him as a middle-of-the-road tight end in today's NFL. The recent restructure gives him a chance to be paid as he should relative to others at his position so long as he's able to stay on the field following last year's season-ending back surgery.

After Tuesday's practice, the team's sixth of the spring, Gronkowski acknowledged that he's "100 percent" and "good to go."

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

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Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

Former Lions tight end Eric Ebron is signing a two-year deal worth $15 million with the Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ebron was rumored to be a potential target for the Patriots, especially after new Pats running back Jeremy Hill tried recruiting him to the team.

The 24-year-old had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns a season ago with Detroit. 


Patriots release Shea McClellin

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Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.