The timing seemed curious. Earlier this offseason, on the same day that Colts tight end Dwayne Allen signed an extension that would pay him about $7.4 million annually, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski published a tweet that seemed to hint he wasn't all that enamored with his deal any longer.
Gronkowski, an All-Pro who has produced as the game's best tight end when healthy, signed a six-year extension with the Patriots back in 2012 that pays him about $9 million annually. He was paid $6 million of a $10 million option bonus in March that will keep him in New England through 2019.
"If ya think about it," Gronkowski wrote, "that Option pick up basically equals pay cut the next 4 seasons...I don't work hard for those reasons. Haha."
Gronkowski's agent Drew Rosenhaus had a chance to squash any misinterpretations of Gronkowski's tweet at the league's annual meetings last month. He opted not to.
"Not talking about that, I appreciate you asking but not getting into that," Rosenhaus said.
But now, during the first week of the Patriots offseason program, For The Win published a piece with Gronkowski where the tight end insisted that his contract isn't on his mind.
"No, that’s not on my mind at all," he explained. "I started offseason workouts (this week). It just feels great to be back with the team working out, getting back in football shape and getting prepared for the season."
Gronkowski is paid as the No. 4 tight end in the league in terms of average annual value. As the salary cap has increased since Gronkowski signed his extension, and as other tight ends have signed new deals in the league's changing financial landscape, his deal slots in behind those of Seattle's Jimmy Graham ($10 million), Kansas City's Travis Kelce ($9.4 million) and Jacksonville's Julius Thomas ($9.2 million).
While Gronkowski has shown no signs of holding out, and while his deal looked like a generous one at the time it was signed (especially considering that it gave him some security in the event he suffered another serious injury), one could envision this would be a deal the Patriots re-visit before it comes to its completion.