Patriots expect both Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski to play this year

Getty Images

The fact that Tom Brady hasn’t specifically said that he’ll play this year (unless he has) likely isn’t a big deal. The fact that Rob Gronkowski hasn’t is more significant. In the end, however, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Patriots expect both players to suit up and play in 2018.

That doesn’t mean all is well. Gronkowski has taken his trademark individuality to the extreme this offseason, declining to declare that he’ll play and, most recently, arguably trolling coach Bill Belichick over Gronkowski’s obvious intention to treat voluntary workouts as just that.

It’s possible Gronkowski simply wants more money, and that if the team wants to address a contract that will pay Gronk $8 million this year, maybe Gronk will have more enthusiasm about April, May, and June non-mandatory practices.

As to Gronkowski’s pay for 2018, the $8 million he’ll make matches the $8 million per year that former Eagles third-string tight end Trey Burton will earn in Chicago this year, and it’s $2 million less than the $10 million per year that Jimmy Graham will make in Green Bay. Clearly, Gronkowski is underpaid.

Apart from Gronkowski’s satisfaction or lack thereof with his pay, there’s also a belief that Gronkowski, Brady, and other Patriots continue to be salty about the inexplicable — and still unexplained — benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl. A full eleven weeks later, coach Bill Belichick still hasn’t shed any light on the decision to use Butler for only one special-teams play and to keep him on the bench even after the Philly offense shredded the New England defense enough to force a change to the dime package during a 30-minute halftime.

None of the theories that have made the rounds fully hold water, and as one coach with another team previously pointed out to PFT, the fact that Butler took practice reps during the week before the Super Bowl strongly suggests that the move was disciplinary. Some have suggested that Butler may have had an unauthorized visitor in his room during the week before the game, but security at the J.W. Marriott at the Mall of America was too high to allow players to sneak someone in.

The fact that the Titans quickly pounced on Butler in free agency serves only to deepen the mystery. Given the ties that Tennessee G.M. Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel have to the Patriots, the thinking is that there’s no way the Titans would have committed $30 million in guaranteed money to Butler if there was a major problem with the player’s ability or his attitude.

The questions will linger until an explanation for Butler’s benching is provided. But that may not end the debate, especially if the explanation doesn’t fully explain something that perhaps can’t be.

88 responses to “Patriots expect both Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski to play this year

  1. The sky is falling in NE. Gronk is made of glass and Brady is washed up, fumbled away his last big chance.

  2. Gronk also is always injured. Gronk is under contract till 2019. It is what it is. If he’s not happy, too bad.

  3. Dynasty Over! Thank Goodness Super Bowls were looking like reruns. That being said Congratulations to that franchise. Not hating at all just got sick of watching them in it. Eagles win ONE and they Think that they have a dynasty in the making.. Wrong IF you think winning one was hard just wait now that you have a target on your backs. Giants Packers Falcons Cowboys all good teams and still trying to get back. It doesn’t get easier Trust history.

  4. Gronk’s contract is right in line with the top TEs in FB, like Kelce, Allen, and Ertz. Graham makes more because he got a bad contract from Seattle that he hasn’t lived up to. Pats can easily tweak that with a few easily attainable incentives. Maybe Gronk told the Pats he’s playing, but just trying to keep his name in the news and expand his brand. Maybe he’s trying to shoot his way outta town ovee the Guerrero thing. We’ll find out on draft day.
    The idea the Butler thing is some kind of conspiracy is a joke. He has a bad yr. He was freelancing to get on ESPN because he knew the Pats would let him walk. He was hospitalized with the flu. He got to Minny late. Had a bad week of practice. If anyone thinks that BB would ever jeopardize a SB win out of spite or discipline, please. Stop and think about it.
    As for Brady, he’s missed some voluntary w/o before. Can I get a link to the last time Brady had a press conference to announce he was coming back to play? Please.

  5. Of course both will be playing. Neither of these two would just fade away or vanish quietly. Brady has earned a huge farewell and will be there for it. Gronkowski loves this kind of stupid publicity but will make a big deal of his retirement, probably after this season.

  6. Thank you Ted Murph ! at last a voice of reason. Amazing how many posters claim to “hate” the 5 time champions , yet race to be the first poster to comment on every article related to the Pats..Pathetic how much space the Pats occupy in their heads.

  7. Pats fan here, the run may be over and it may not but thanks BB for what you created, and thanks TB for being an integral part of what kept it going.

  8. Ha! Lol at Pats fanboys claiming no worries, everything is normal. Nothing is normal in Foxborough these days. The Patriot Way is ovah. The team has striked back and are tired of being treated like slaves.

  9. The security was too high to sneak someone In? Yea because I’m sure it’s so hard to slip one of the guys working security some cash to let someone go by? Not to mention I’m sure he’d be able to find someone in security who was starstruck by the teams.

  10. I’m a Patriots fan, but support the players. Brady has constantly been doing team friendly deals and they should reciprocate. As far as Gronk goes, it’s clear that he checks in with Brady for support and that they are on the same page. Belichick won’t trade them because “next man up” makes no sense when the next man up isn’t the greatest at his position like Brady and Gronk.

  11. You can’t fault Gronkowski for wanting to be paid like the top TE in the league. However, it seems that only in sports do contracts mean one party is satisfied… only until they see others making more. The only way to avoid that would be to play on a continued string of one year deals, adjusting to market conditions each year, and Gronkowski could have done that before he signed his last market rate deal. But of course, one year deals don’t get the signing bonuses that multi-year pacts receive.

  12. I do think that both players are less than happy about playing for Belicheck but as long as they were winning, they would keep their mouths shut. I think benching Butler in the SB was really damaging to the chemistry. Butler may have been ill during the week or some other issue but to not allow him to play a snap against a team that was moving against your D at will for a full 60 minutes makes little sense to the players who are towing the company line. Bottom line: I don’t think they trust Belicheck. Just my opinion.

  13. No need to disparage plant life; I can think of a few haters who better steer clear of venus fly traps.

  14. This is based on no info, but so are the stiries thatbthey are not playing based on no info. Fact is, its been a ton off off season noise based on no info. Just a bunch of guys spitballing to fill a slow news period.

  15. Hey everybody call Tommy Curran and tell him you’ll be going in to work tomorrow.

    Not that you said you wouldn’t, but he gets nervous, you know? He must care about people a lot.

  16. domedaddy says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    Ha! Lol at Pats fanboys claiming no worries, everything is normal. Nothing is normal in Foxborough these days. The Patriot Way is ovah. The team has striked back and are tired of being treated like slaves.

    ___

    Amazed at all the hopeful “The queen is dead!” postings about the Pats that are just, really, fake news.

    Gronk was punking everyone yesterday with the “got to work on my dirt bike skills” and all the haters were salivating and jumping around. Meanwhile, he knows whats being said in the media and is just playing with everyone. Crazy how gullible you clowns are.

    Do you bozo’s really think neither of them are playing this year? They will finish 12-4, get a bye, make it to the AFC Championship yet again. From there, who knows. If they get another Super Bowl, the haters will just about implode.

  17. JUst so everyone has the Numbers correct.. Gronk Made over $10.5 Million last year with his incentives. He is scheduled to make 9 Million in 2018 with roster bonuses and option pickups and $10 million in 2019. Not Bad for a guy who has been hurt almost half of his career. I’m struggling to figure out why this isn’t referenced in the story but anybody can look this up in a number of different places.SMH

  18. .
    ” It’s possible Gronkowski simply wants more money, and that if the team wants to address a contract that will pay Gronk $8 million this year”
    _________

    It’s somewhat disingenuous to reference Gronk’s 8 million dollar salary without mentioning the easily attainable 5.5 million dollar incentive package that the Patriots voluntarily added to his contract last year.
    .

  19. I just have to wonder if this is an ultimate plan to use the “Will he or wont he” talk on ESPN to the Patriots advantage.

    Is Belichick and company trying to play the media?

  20. Jim Kelly’s nasty jaw says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    Brady is just about washed up and Gronk is a gimp..theyre done

    The crybaby rally cry…

    Every offseason the same wishful thinking athese same people will slowly disappear around the end of October as the Patriots are pushing for yet another SB run.

  21. neatpete1 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 5:09 pm
    This is based on no info, but so are the stiries thatbthey are not playing based on no info…
    ————————
    The evidence they are playing is they are both under contract, haven’t said they aren’t, haven’t asked for a trade, haven’t said anything about Belichick – and additionally for Brady he wanted JimmyG out of town. The “evidence” they aren’t is idle speculation and clickbait – and some BSPN salty BS.

  22. “Gronk also is always injured.”

    Huh. If he was “always injured” he would have played in zero NFL games. A quick check of his career stats showed he’s played in 80% of the possible games he could have been in.

    I know I know, Pats haters have a lot of trouble with math and science.

    “Brady is just about washed up”

    That’s another good one. If leading the league in passing, being # 3 in completions of 20+ yards in the air and #1 in completions of 40+ yards in the air is “just about washed up” I’d say almost every other team wishes they had a QB who was “just about washed up”

    Lolz

  23. tedmurph says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm
    Gronk’s contract is right in line with the top TEs in FB, like Kelce, Allen, and Ertz. Graham makes more because he got a bad contract from Seattle that he hasn’t lived up to. Pats can easily tweak that with a few easily attainable incentives. Maybe Gronk told the Pats he’s playing, but just trying to keep his name in the news and expand his brand. Maybe he’s trying to shoot his way outta town ovee the Guerrero thing. We’ll find out on draft day.
    The idea the Butler thing is some kind of conspiracy is a joke. He has a bad yr. He was freelancing to get on ESPN because he knew the Pats would let him walk. He was hospitalized with the flu. He got to Minny late. Had a bad week of practice. If anyone thinks that BB would ever jeopardize a SB win out of spite or discipline, please. Stop and think about it.
    As for Brady, he’s missed some voluntary w/o before. Can I get a link to the last time Brady had a press conference to announce he was coming back to play? Please.

    33 6 Rate This

    —————-

    thank you

    as for tenn overspending in a crap nashville nfl town via the owner demanding robinson make splashes, while patricia and the lions never had any interest, that is far, far more telling to me.

    a 103 passer rating against for butler, all kinds of baggage and ego, cleaning out his locker, faking the flu, etc, and losing trust of his teammates and the coaches, is squarely on butler.

    i love how a millennial’s arrogance and entitlement somehow spills into bb’s lap as if it is his fault. this country continues to go down the crapper

    this is all because ne could not win 3 sbs in 4 years in the face of a cheating commissioner, mind you.

  24. domedaddy says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    Ha! Lol at Pats fanboys claiming no worries, everything is normal. Nothing is normal in Foxborough these days. The Patriot Way is ovah. The team has striked back and are tired of being treated like slaves.
    ——————————————————————
    Slaves huh? Get back to me when you find a slave who is making $480,000 a year. The salary of the lowest paid players on the roster. But thanks for clearing up what’s what in the Patriot organization. Obviously the 18 year run is a fluke and all due to slave labor. Good God, jealous Patriot hater never fails to lower the bar.

  25. harrisonhits2 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    “Gronk also is always injured.”

    Huh. If he was “always injured” he would have played in zero NFL games. A quick check of his career stats showed he’s played in 80% of the possible games he could have been in.
    ————-

    I’m not Gronk hater. In fact I think he’s the best in the game, but since when is playing in 80 percent of the games any good? Every 4 you miss one. Not great.

  26. I wonder if Aaron Rogers, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco, Drew Brees and oh lets say another 1500 players have all written to their teams and told them they will be playing last year?

    The media stories for months about these two is totally pathetic.

    Has Donald Trump said he will be remaining as President for 2019 yet?

  27. flyphillyfly34 says:

    Why bother, the eagles will just make them cry again😭😭😭😭
    =================================================

    Since this is your first experience with your team winning the Super Bowl, we’ll forgive you for not understanding reality. I’m sure even Bucs fans thought they had a Dynasty, when they won their years before the Eagles.

  28. pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm
    Thank you Ted Murph ! at last a voice of reason. Amazing how many posters claim to “hate” the 5 time champions , yet race to be the first poster to comment on every article related to the Pats..Pathetic how much space the Pats occupy in their heads.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Yeah, because you NEVER see Patriots making comments on articles about other teams like “you’re jealous”, “your team is the cheaters”, posting garbage like #noonehasitbetterthanus and displaying a full-on martyrdom complex, whining incessantly about the league being out to get them . Please.

  29. pftoutcast says:
    April 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm
    pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm
    Thank you Ted Murph ! at last a voice of reason. Amazing how many posters claim to “hate” the 5 time champions , yet race to be the first poster to comment on every article related to the Pats..Pathetic how much space the Pats occupy in their heads.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Yeah, because you NEVER see Patriots making comments on articles about other teams like “you’re jealous”, “your team is the cheaters”, posting garbage like #noonehasitbetterthanus and displaying a full-on martyrdom complex, whining incessantly about the league being out to get them . Please.

    0 2 Rate This

    ——————

    you people started it

    we’ll finish it

  30. “I’m not Gronk hater. In fact I think he’s the best in the game, but since when is playing in 80 percent of the games any good? Every 4 you miss one. Not great”

    Actually that would be missing 1 in 5 games, not 1 in 4.

    Gronk in 80% of the games typically is a top 3 TE in catches, yards and TDs. So yes, Gronk 80% of the time is great.

    Second, I was merely pointing out that people who claim “Gronk is always hurt” are foolish because that is far from the case.

    Third, a significant portion of the league’s players are injured as much or more than Gronk is. Part of that is the way the modern NFL and players handle injuries as in the current environment teams are less likely to push injured players back on the field instead of saying suck it up and get out there like 20 years ago.

  31. calizcowboyz says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:04 pm
    Dynasty Over! Thank Goodness Super Bowls were looking like reruns. That being said Congratulations to that franchise. Not hating at all just got sick of watching them in it. Eagles win ONE and they Think that they have a dynasty in the making.. Wrong IF you think winning one was hard just wait now that you have a target on your backs. Giants Packers Falcons Cowboys all good teams and still trying to get back. It doesn’t get easier Trust history

    ===========================

    Vikings Rams Saints and Panthers could also be pretty stout. 49ers looked good with jimmy g as well. wont be easy for eagles thats for sure, but they are loaded theres no denying it. NFC is brutal. gonna be a fun season. cant wait for it to start.

  32. calizcowboyz says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:04 pm
    Dynasty Over! Thank Goodness Super Bowls were looking like reruns. That being said Congratulations to that franchise. Not hating at all just got sick of watching them in it. Eagles win ONE and they Think that they have a dynasty in the making.. Wrong IF you think winning one was hard just wait now that you have a target on your backs. Giants Packers Falcons Cowboys all good teams and still trying to get back. It doesn’t get easier Trust history.

    58 26 Rate This
    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    Dynasty over? lol maybe to a hater like you. Patriots have earned the benefit of the doubt. Until they show me they are done, I would never bet against them. So many haters – haters because they are losers and can’t respect what has been a truly incredible run in the salary cap era. Brady is washed up? Did you even watch the Super Bowl?

    Stupidity breads hatred and vice versa.

  33. Of course they are going to play.

    And the New England Cheaters will also win the Snooper Bowl.

  34. You’re at the tail end of a once-in-a-lifetime run that probably won’t be topped while any of us are breathing. Shut up, check your egos, give us the two or three more years you’re capable of giving us, and cut this nonsense out. YEESH.

  35. And for those Eagles fans (trolls?) loitering around on Patriots articles – good one, you deserved to win the Super Bowl last year.

    But instead of crowing about it on every Patriots article, you should try to get past the “one year dynasty” hurdle first. Perhaps then you’ll start acting like you’ve won something before.

  36. Tell me one player in the NFL who wouldn’t deal with the extreme discipline to have a vault full of hardware like the patriots .
    Unless they are ok with never playing in even the post season.

    Say whatever you’d like but Belichicks way works period.
    Not to mention it again but the HARDWARE is tangible proof.

  37. New England still crying about one defensive back missing a game being the reason they lost while Philadelphia was without their special teams captain, their all pro punt returner and third down back supreme, their starting middle linebacker, their all pro left tackle and their starting QB. Get over it New England you so far done.

  38. thereyougo2 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm
    New England still crying about one defensive back missing a game being the reason they lost while Philadelphia was without their special teams captain, their all pro punt returner and third down back supreme, their starting middle linebacker, their all pro left tackle and their starting QB. Get over it New England you so far done.

    0 0 Rate This
    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    I think even sensible NE Pats fans will tell you losing Malcolm Butler was not the deciding factor in the game…Truth is the Pats defense had more holes than just 1 CB & you have to give credit to the Eagles & Foles executing a good game plan.

    Pats have been to 7 straight AFC Championship games – if thats “so far done” then please sign my Chicago Bears up. Are you kidding?

  39. Not entirely sure Brady is washed up….he did throw for 500+ yards in the SB (first QB to do that). I think the bigger issue in NE is these guys have played more games in the last (you pick the number) years than any other team and for guys like Brady and Gronk, the grind has to take a toll…as much mentally as physically. Brady is the GOAT, Gronk is the GTEOAT and they are irritated at BB for benching Butler (as they should be) given that benching cost the Pats ring #6. And when you give everything you have for your coach and teammates, and your coach pulls an inexplicable and unexplained benching of a star player, I think the GOAT and GTEOAT are justified in their displeasure. I actually think BB could be in trouble after the draft…..as in replaced by McDaniels – and as a Pats fan, I think that would be a pretty good idea.

  40. Pats will get back
    Edelman, Hightower, last years #1 draft pick (rivers), Mitchell, Garcia ( another injured rookie draft pick last year)
    As well as 8 picks in this years draft w/5 in the 1st 3 rounds currently….
    Sure, they lost some key players but they also picked up some potential studs in FA….& let’s not forget the guys they got LATE last year that WILL NOW HAVE AN ENTIRE OFFSEASON I the Pats camp & system…..
    I believe this is gonna be just a continuation of the last 18 years….NO WORRIES HERE!!!
    Go Pats!!!!

  41. descendency says:
    April 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm
    I just have to wonder if this is an ultimate plan to use the “Will he or wont he” talk on ESPN to the Patriots advantage.

    Is Belichick and company trying to play the media?

    That’s relatively ignorant. Playing the media gives no competitive advantage, and teams don’t game plan in April. There’s no strategy here.

  42. “I think even sensible NE Pats fans will tell you losing Malcolm Butler was not the deciding factor in the game…”

    YES IT WAS…Just a really stupid decision by the hood. Kinda like when he went for it on 4th down vs Manning. Imagine how many Super Bowls they would have won without his ego.

  43. The one plausible explanation is that Belichick was blackmailed or threatened by someone to keep Butler on the bench. That is why the benching was inexplicable. All the other explanations do not hold water because they are alibis or failed attempts to come up with a reasonable and rational explanation. The party that blackmailed or threatened Belchick was likely the party behind Defensive Holding Gate, which was responsible for Seattle winning its one and only Super Bowl a few years ago.

  44. I love how Pat fan thinks another team will give them anything resembling a first round pick for a TE who is contemplating retirement.

  45. People will still be saying the Patriots are “done” right up and through them hosting this year’s AFC Championship game once again. They’re not insane, they’re just sick and tired or watching the Pats in big games. It’s much, much harder for them to concede how amazing it is as competitive fans.

  46. Jim Kelly’s nasty jaw says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    Brady is just about washed up and Gronk is a gimp..theyre done

    ———–

    What kind of person makes fun of a guy with cancer?

  47. They need to play.

    It won’t be any fun to watch the Pats demise if they aren’t a part of it.

    I hope Brady plays forever. Go out like Joe Willie. Nothing would be more enjoyable.

  48. Gronk signed a LONG deal a few years ago, thereby refusing to bet on himself but instead taking the safe road of guaranteed money and a lengthy contract. He exchanged potential dollars for security. Now here you are saying that his deal is unfair. If he signed short-term deals instead of the one he has, he would be paid more, but he would also have an increased exposure to loss of earnings due to injury. This is a choice he made, so he gets to live with it.

    You also fail to report on yearly average, once again only reporting on money to be paid this year, in hopes that the reader doesn’t notice how you tout yearly average at the font end of deals. Pick one.

  49. The party that blackmailed or threatened Belchick

    Look what happened in subsequent years when he went against them and beat the 06 Chargers and 14 Ravens.

    Bill’s catching on.

  50. It’s sad so many posters can’t appreciate the play of Tom Brady and what he’s accomplished! Instead they choose to believe the LIES the NFL told.
    That’s pretty sad. It’s been a pleasure to watch Tom play all these years, too bad some aren’t capable of realizing his greatness.

  51. johnjackguy says:
    April 22, 2018 at 6:23 pm
    That is the best explanation that I have heard so far, that the veterans are pissed about the Super bowl.

    ————

    We’ll considering nobody has ever thrown for as many yards as Brady did in the Super Bowl and lost, I suspect that he feels that if the defense could have made one or two more plays then the Patriots would have won and I assume he thinks that Butler could have been the difference, so he blames BB for the loss. I would too.

  52. domedaddy says:
    April 22, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    Ha! Lol at Pats fanboys claiming no worries, everything is normal. Nothing is normal in Foxborough these days. The Patriot Way is ovah. The team has striked back and are tired of being treated like slaves.

    ———–

    Just watch the season. The Patriots will prove it on the field as they always do.

  53. biggs13 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 11:57 pm
    “I think even sensible NE Pats fans will tell you losing Malcolm Butler was not the deciding factor in the game…”

    YES IT WAS…Just a really stupid decision by the hood. Kinda like when he went for it on 4th down vs Manning. Imagine how many Super Bowls they would have won without his ego.

    0 2 Rate This
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    The ignorance just hurts my head. You don’t spend day in day out in the Patriots Facilities – Belichek knows him better than anybody – if he felt it was the best decision to leave him on the bench how can you argue? He’s earned the right to make any decision he wants. He’s the GOAT. Get over it. You’re not a better armchair coach.

    Use some sort of logic to have an intelligent debate. Until then you’re just spewing nonsense to appease your uneducated mind.

  54. trubiscuitbears34 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 8:49 pm
    thereyougo2 says:
    April 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm
    New England still crying about one defensive back missing a game being the reason they lost while Philadelphia was without their special teams captain, their all pro punt returner and third down back supreme, their starting middle linebacker, their all pro left tackle and their starting QB. Get over it New England you so far done.
    0 0 Rate This
    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    I think even sensible NE Pats fans will tell you losing Malcolm Butler was not the deciding factor in the game…Truth is the Pats defense had more holes than just 1 CB & you have to give credit to the Eagles & Foles executing a good game plan.
    Pats have been to 7 straight AFC Championship games – if thats “so far done” then please sign my Chicago Bears up. Are you kidding?

    —————

    I agree… The defense was horrible. That is what cost the team the game. Now, you can also say that Brady should have had way more points in the first half off of all that offense, but it was really the defense that cost them.

    There were a few key stops that would have swung the game. They didn’t need to be the 85 bears. The Foles TD catch and the 4th and 1 with 5 min left to me were the key plays that if the Patriots defense makes they have a great chance to win.

    The Eagles made the plays they had to make to win the game.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!