New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski spoke with the media prior to the Daytona 500 and gave his thoughts on teammate and free agent TE Martellus Bennett and his pending free agency.
“I’m hoping he breaks the bank,” Gronkowski said, via the Star-Telegram. “Whenever you see a tight end break the bank, it’s good for the industry. It’s good for the position. You want to see the position grow. I want to see him do whatever he’s got to do, but I don’t make the calls.”
The Patriots reportedly offered Bennett a contract extension valued at $7 million per year prior to the 2016 season, but the tight end turned down the offer.
Gronkowski is currently playing under a contract valued at $9 million per season, the fifth highest mark at the position. There has been talk that Gronkowski wants a new contract that’s more in line with his top-of-the-position ability, but his season-ending injury in 2016 put a hold on any contract negotiations.
Bennett is looking to maximize his contract value in free agency and both he and Gronkowski have it in their interest for Bennett to receive a huge contract offer. If Bennett signs a deal at $9 million or more per season, then Bennett is making top money at his position- and Gronkowski can come to the negotiation table and say, “Hey, I’m a better tight end than Bennett and I deserve more money.”
If Bennett “breaks the bank” in free agency, then he won’t be back in New England because the Patriots don’t give top dollar to players that aren’t the top of their position.