Rob Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends in the NFL today, if not, the best tight end in league history.
The New England Patriots star has racked up 5,555 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns from 380 receptions since he was drafted in the second round back in 2010. Averaging 14.6 yards per catch, he is one of the top targets on Tom Brady's radar in the AFC East side's offense.
Despite these brilliant numbers and the fact he is coming up to the halfway mark in his six-year, $54 million deal with the Patriots, the 26-year-old still feels like he is being underpaid, and he made that clear on his Twitter account.
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This tweet came on the same day the Patriots picked up the remaining $6 million of his $10 million option that keeps him on the team until the end of the 2019 season.
He said on his Twitter account: "If ya think about it that Option pick up basically equals pay cut the next 4 seasons... I don't work hard for those reasons. Haha."
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Keep in mind this tweet was sent out to his followers before the Indianapolis Colts re-signed Dwayne Allen to a four-year deal worth $29 million, with $12 million being paid in the first year. Also, we don't know if the four-time Pro Bowler is being serious, or if he is just joking around.
Nevertheless, this has lead to some people saying Gronkowski is being paid less than Allen over the next four years, which is true in a sense, but you must remember that their contracts are structured differently. Despite Gronk being the better player, the Patriots will only be paying him $24.5 million over the next four years.
The reason why many analysts thought the option was picked up in the first place by New England was because they believed the team was concerned if the former Arizona star would be able to stay healthy enough to prove to be a long-term investment.
Gronkowski only played 11 games for the Patriots during the 2012 season due to a chronic broken arm, and he only played seven games in 2013 due to an ACL tear, so it's easy to see why the team was cautious about giving him a big contract straight away without an option clause.
ESPN's Mike Reiss said back in 2014 before New England decided to use the option deal: "The decision to pick up the option bonus, while not a factor for the Patriots for at least another year, could be hotly debated if Gronkowski is once again sidelined by injuries at times over the ’14 and ’15 seasons."
Obviously, we now know the decision really was a no-brainer, as Gronkowski has avoided serious injury and has flourished into one of the best players in the league. He'll get his payday probably sooner rather than later because he deserves it, but New England won't be in any rush.
Gronk isn't underpaid, but his payday is coming soon.