With camp holdouts being a popular and unwelcome trend around the league these days, the Patriots and their star tight end decided it might be a wise move to try and avoid a situation such as the one that happened in Houston yesterday with Deandre Hopkins. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry and even though it doesn't seem likely that Rob Gronkowski would leave New England, I would much rather have the Patriots air on the side of caution and not wait until his contract year to extend him.
Earlier today, it was reported out of the Patriots camp that the team and No. 87 were discussing a contract extension, even though Gronk is locked up until 2019. This news was not necessarily expected, but it does seem like a logical move given how many camp holdouts there have been in the past couple of years. Now, do I have an issue with the fact that the Pats want to ensure the safety of their second most important player? No. However, with these discussions, other issues could arise with other players, namely Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower. These two star linebackers have been wanting a new contract for about a year and a half, but the Pats have kept pushing it to the side with the promise that a new deal will be in place by the time the current one is up (both expire at the end of this season). Well, that deadline is rapidly approaching, and the more time that passes, the more they will be looking at other teams with more cap space and a bigger desire to sign them. I'm of course not saying that New England wants to part with either one of their game-changing linebackers, but it hasn't been looking like they're in a huge rush to sign them recently. Also, you have to throw Malcolm Butler's name into this conversation, as his contract will soon expire. Although he is less of a threat to leave considering New England made him what he is today, the situation still requires monitoring.
Rob Gronkowksi is the best tight end in the league, hands down, without question. He definitely deserves an extension a couple years in advance with the way he plays and also the way he exemplifies what it means to be a Patriot. However, in my opinion, the Pats should be focusing more on the players that aren't locked up for the next three years and who could very well leave in free agency because New England didn't act soon enough. To give an example, Jon Lester was a fixture on the Red Sox for years and was 100% planning to resign with Boston during his contract year after he was traded to Oakland back in 2014. Instead, he ended up inking a record contract with the Cubs because the Sox waited too long to offer up a contract and low balled him by several million dollars. This kind of thing happens all the time and I do not want to see the Patriots make the same mistake the Red Sox did by waiting too long to sign some of their key players. However, Collins and Hightower love playing for the Patriots and Belichick is a master with all front office matters, so, for now, I'm not too worried.
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