Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are team players, and their goal (as always) is to win the Super Bowl. But they also have serious personal motivation to perform well down the stretch.
The New England Patriots quarterback and tight end, like many of their teammates, are on incentive-laden contracts, meaning they get bonuses if they hit various statistical benchmarks in a season.
With just seven games remaining in the regular season, however, both Brady and Gronkowski are on pace to fall short on several of those benchmarks. How far short, you ask?
As the Patriots enter their bye week, let's break down the reported incentives in both players' contracts, and where they stand after Week 10:
Incentive: Top five in the NFL in passer rating ($1 million)
Current Pace: 94.7 passer rating -- 16th
Incentive: Top five in the NFL in completion percentage ($1 million)
Current Pace: 65.2 percent -- 18th
Incentive: Top five in the NFL in yards per attempt ($1 million)
Current Pace: 7.41 Y/A -- 17th
Incentive: Top five in the NFL in touchdown passes ($1 million)
Current Pace: 17 TDs -- T-11th
Incentive: Top five in the NFL in passing yards ($1 million)
Current Pace: 2,748 yards -- 5th
As it stands now, Brady is barely on pace to unlock just one of his four incentives and likely will leave $4 million in incentives on the table. His tight end isn't faring much better.
Incentive: 70 or more catches ($1.1 million)
Current Pace: 29 catches
Incentive: 80 percent or more of total offensive snaps ($1.1 million)
Current Pace: 64.3 percent of snaps
Incentive: Nine or more touchdown catches ($1.1 million)
Current Pace: One touchdown catch
Incentive: 1,085 or more receiving yards ($1.1 million)
Current Pace: 448 receiving yards
Gronkowski's contract stipulates he can earn a maximum of $3.3 million, but after missing three of the Patriots' last four games with back and ankle ailments, it'd be a surprise if he sees any of that money.
Both Brady and Gronkowski have been the subjects of retirement rumors, so if they don't meet these benchmarks by Week 17, it will be interesting to see whether they attempt to renegotiate their contracts or seriously ponder stepping away from the game.
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