In the wake of last night’s news that tight end Dwayne Allen signed a four-year, $29.4 million deal to stay with the Colts, some have suggested that Allen will actually make more than Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski over the next four years. While that’s not accurate (damn those facts that get in the way of an otherwise perfectly hot take), it can be said that Gronkowski is underpaid, relative to Allen.
Regardless of what anyone else thinks, Gronkowski seems to think he’s underpaid, relative to anyone and everyone. Last night at 7:33 p.m. ET (not long before news of Allen’s new deal broke), Gronkowski said this on Twitter: “If ya think about it that Option pick up basically equals pay cut for the next 4 seasons.” Gronk then says, “I don’t work hard for those reasons. Haha.”
The deal Gronkowski signed after only two years in the NFL (he was in the final draft class that was eligible for a new contract following the completion of a second NFL season) gave the Patriots the right to turn a four-year deal into an eight-year deal by paying out $10 million late in the 2015 league year. By exercising the option bonus, the Patriots get Gronkowski for $24.5 million over the next four years.
That’s a total of $34.5 million over the next four years, via the option bonus plus base salaries of $2.25 million in 2016, $4.25 million in 2017, $8 million in 2018, and $9 million in 2019.
Is that too little in light of his current and anticipated contributions? Perhaps. But at the time when Gronkowski signed the deal, following two NFL seasons and in advance of what soon would become chronic broken arm in 2012 and a torn ACL in 2013. He got and received financial security then, and now the Patriots are taking advantage of the rights they secured on the back end of the deal.