Michael Lombardi thinks Gronk wants a new contract
Former NFL GM flameout and Patriots coaching-assistant-turned-hot-take-extraordinaire Michael Lombardi shared another fiery take on his GM Street podcast this week. Talking about Rob Gronkowski's prolonged absence from the Patriots before committing to play the 2018 season, Lombardi singled out money as a supposedly key sticking point for the tight end. Per MassLive:
"I think people are confusing this thing so dramatically. They're saying, 'Well, Gronk's mad at Belichick.' No, this is about money. It's about money. He wants another contract. Every year Gronk wants another contract. There was a time at the NFL Combine, Drew Rosenhaus (Gronkowski's agent), had typed a letter, '(Gronkowski) wants a new contract,' and he forgot that the rules state you have to wait 12 months before you can do a new contract. That's how much he's always trying."
Nonsensical anecdote about Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, aside, Lombardi may actually be hinting at a grain of truth here. Gronk is only the fourth-highest-paid tight end in the league, a ranking he most certainly does not deserve. If the Patriots don't plan to move on quickly, it would be very wise to sign Gronk to an extension before his current deal expires.
However, Lombardi cripples his own argument by positioning money as the driving force behind Gronk's mini-retirement of sorts. Could money have possibly played a part in the holdout? Sure. But the bigger concern for Gronk was clearly his muddy injury history and his desire to continue punishing his body and risking long-term physical damage. If his contract were the only sticking point, it would have been made clear long ago--and in all likelihood, the Pats would have worked with him to craft a new, fair deal for both sides.