New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski delivered a late hit to cornerback Tre’Davious White on Sunday during his team's game against the Buffalo Bills, and now he is paying the price for his actions.
On Monday, the NFL issued a one-game suspension to the tight end for his actions at the weekend. This was a deserved suspension, and he's very lucky that it's just a one-game suspension. Gronkowski apologized for the play after the game and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick condemned his player for his actions too.
ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that Gronkowski will appeal the suspension, but judging by the tape of the play, he's unlikely to be successful in his appeal. However, this suspension might cost him more than just a game check.
According to All22, the Patriots restructured Gronkowski’s contract prior to the 2017 season and made it heavily incentive-laden, most likely due to his past injuries. He has the chance to earn up to an additional $3 million based on playing time or productivity. Missing next Monday's game against the Miami Dolphins though puts those incentives at risk.
Firstly, if the tight end can participate in 70 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps, catch 60 passes for more than 800 yards, or catch 10 touchdown passes, he'll earn can earn a $1 million bonus. With 55 catches for 849 yards and seven touchdowns already, he should be able to accomplish this.
This bonus though can be increased to $2 million if he plays 80 percent of the offensive snaps, catches 70 passes and hits 1,000 yards receiving, or catches 12 touchdown passes. After missing a game in Week 5, he’s played in 82.6 percent of snaps to date.
Missing all of the snaps in Week 14 if he fails in his appeal will mean he'll likely have to accomplish the productivity targets to gain this bonus, which are all achievable, but far from guarantees with three games remaining following the suspension.
Gronkowski can increase that bonus one final time to $3 million if he plays in 90 or more percent of snaps, catches 80 passes for 1,200 yards, catches 14 touchdown passes or makes the All-Pro team. This would be extremely difficult to achieve since he would need 25 catches for 351 yards or seven touchdown receptions in the last three weeks of the regular season.
Since only usually two tight ends out of the entire NFL are selected for the All-Pro team as well, it's going to be tough for Gronk to earn this $3 million bonus. At the moment, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and Jimmy Graham could all be selected ahead of him.
If Gronkowski is unsuccessful in his appeal, missing Week 14 due to suspension is going to cost him $250,000, but if the missed time on the field means he fails to reach the needed stat lines to achieve bonus money, it could cost him a lot more.
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