The NFL suspended Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for one game, as a result of his vicious blow to the head of Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Gronkowski, despite his contrition, has decided to appeal.
When asked about the suspension, the always-chatty Bill Belichick didn’t have much to say.
“Well, we’ll see what happens when we get the final word,” Belichick told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s not a decision that we have. It’s not our decision.”
Some would say maybe it should be. Maybe Gronkowski shouldn’t have appealed. Maybe Belichick, who admitted to Bills coach Sean McDermott that the hit was “bullish-t,” should have urged/instructed Gronkwski not to appeal.
“Well, again, that decision is not one that we’re making,” Belichick added regarding the potential benefit of Gronkowski getting a game off during the stretch run. “It’s a league decision.”
Apart from the $250,000 game check that Gronkowski would be losing, missing another game would make it harder for him to meet the triggers necessary to unlock $5.5 million in incentives for 2017. He already has reached the first $1 million by getting to 800 receiving yards.
To get another $2 million, he needs to participate in 80 percent of the offensive snaps for the full season or catch 70 passes or generate 1,000 receiving yards or score 12 touchdowns. To get the final $2.5 million on top of that, Gronkowski needs to participate in 90 percent of the snaps (not likely if the suspension is upheld) or catch 80 passes or gain 1,200 receiving yards or score 14 touchdowns or be named the Associated Press first-team All-Pro.
Currently, Gronkowski has 55 catches for 849 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games (he missed one game due to injury). If the suspension is upheld, he’ll need to pick up 25 catches or 351 receiving yards or five touchdowns in three games — or hope that he will get more votes than the likes of Zach Ertz (who has more catches and as many touchdowns), Travis Kelce (who has more catches and yards), and/or Jimmy Graham (who has more touchdowns) in the contest to be named AP All-Pro.