According to several reports, the Patriots are re-negotiating the contract of tight end Rob Gronkowski. It appears nothing has been finalized just yet, and it is unclear whether the Patriots are restructuring the final two years of Gronkowski's current deal or if they are working to give him an extension.
Gronkowski, a second-round pick in 2010, is scheduled to make 540,000 this season and 575,000 in 2013, the final two years of his four-year rookie deal.
In just two seasons, Gronkowski has already solidified his position among the NFL's best tight ends. In 2011, he set records when he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added another score on a two-yard run.
Gronkowski played Super Bowl XLVI with a badly sprained ankle he suffered in the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. He had surgery soon after the season to repair the damage and has been seen rehabbing the injury during Patriots OTAs.
The Patriots don't often re-do rookie deals (though just last year they gave Jerod Mayo a 5-year extension before his five-year contract was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season). But it would make sense for them to either a) lock up arguably the best tight end in football with an extension or b) simply give him a raise in the final two years of his current deal in order to gain some favor and perhaps avoid a messy negotiation in two years when Gronkowski could try to set the market for players at his position.
More to come . . .
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."
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."
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)
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
K Matt Bryant (back)
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)