Reporting day for the majority of Patriots players is July 25, but some players have already been showing up to the facility. Rob Gronkowski, for example, stopped in today.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 16, 2018
I’m going to be honest: I’ll love if this is how the “Will he, won’t he?” story of Rob Gronkowski ends this offseason. Gronkowski just re-affirms his desire to play with the Patriots by showing up to camp a week earlier than he has to, quelling any and all fears that head coach Bill Belichick might have heading into the 2018 season.
There were some valid concerns surrounding the relationship between the Patriots and Gronkowski this offseason. Gronkowski wouldn’t commit to playing in 2018, which was immediately viewed as a leverage play to try and get a pay increase because his current deal is incredibly undervalued. There were rumors of the Patriots interest in trading Gronkowski ahead of the draft, but clearly nothing came to pass.
And now we’re at the same spot we were last offseason with Gronkowski: the All Pro tight end reasonably wants a pay-bump that reflects both his value to the Patriots offense and his status as one of the five most transformational offensive skill players in the entire NFL.
(Note: I place Gronkowski with Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and Le’Veon Bell. I’ll add in David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins, and Mike Evans to round out the top ten, in no particular order.)
Belichick and the Patriots reasonably want confirmation of Gronkowski’s commitment to the team before they hand him more money or a new deal.
Both sides have reasonable demands and it seems like Gronkowski is stepping up to the table to uphold his end of the bargain. Hopefully this sign of good will results in a nice new deal for the tight end.