Washington tight end Jordan Reed just inked a 5-year, $50 million contract extension with $22 million guaranteed.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are laughing their way to the bank.
Reed ties Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham with the highest average per year at $10 million per season. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce just signed a deal for roughly $9.4 million per season, while Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas is on a deal for $9.2 million per year.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is on a contract for $9 million per season.
Reed has never played a full 16 game season. He has never grabbed over 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Prior to 2015, he had never picked up more than 500 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in a single season. He will be making $1 million more than Rob Gronkowski on a per-year basis.
At least Graham had All Pro caliber seasons in 2011 and 2013. Kelce has never cracked 55 yards per game or more than 5 touchdowns in a single season. Julius Thomas has 944 receiving yards over the past two seasons combined.
Over the past five seasons, Gronkowski merely averages 1,002 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns- and that's including his injury-ridden 2012 and 2013 seasons. In the entire history of football, only three tight ends have hit those milestones in the same season: Mike Ditka (1961), Todd Christensen (1983), and Jimmy Graham (2011, 2013).
Reminder that Gronkowski averages what only three other players have ever achieved.
And this ignores the other tight ends earning less than Gronkowski, yet are getting paid top dollar.
The Eagles Zach Ertz averages $8.5 million per year and his best season is for 853 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in 2015. The Bills Charles Clay earns $7.6 million per year and his best season was 759 yards and 6 touchdowns back in 2013. The Dolphins Jordan Cameron earns $7.5 million per year and he's only topped 425 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns once in his career.
The Vikings are paying Kyle Rudolph $7.3 million per year and Rudolph has zero 500 yard seasons to his name. The Saints gave Coby Fleener $7.2 million per year to not block, but at least Drew Brees will probably help out his receiving statistics.
The Colts handed Dwayne Allen $7.35 million per year and Allen has 1,045 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in his entire career. That is Gronkowski's five year average.
Tight ends are cashing in all around the league for ridiculous contracts when compared to what Gronkowski earns and what he produces.
Better yet, the Patriots just picked up a 4-year option for Gronkowski that keeps him under control through 2019.
Although, Gronk, if you're reading this: don't hold out. I can do some salary cap kung-fu that makes you the highest paid tight end in the league.
Look at this 4-year option. Your base salaries over this time frame sum $23.5 million. You have nearly $2.5 million in roster bonuses over the next four years. You received a $10 million option bonus. You have another $1 million as workout bonuses.
And while cap math only spreads the original signing bonus over the first five years of the deal, you received a $8 million signing bonus to lock down the extension back in 2012- which averages out to $1 million per season (2 years left on his rookie deal + 6 year extension).
So in total, this 4-year option can actually be valued at $41 million if you include the original signing bonus from 2012- and that means you're under contract for $10.25 million per year, the highest in the league!
See how that works? We get to say that Gronk is criminally underpaid. Gronk can say that his option is valued at the highest in the league. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio can save space under the cap by spreading around the bonuses.
Well, except for all those other teams that are greatly overpaying for tight ends. They all lost.