New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been injury-prone, causing him to miss playoff games or to have to play hurt in the playoffs. Gronkowski has hurt his ankle, back and forearm, but the latest injury came when he tore his ACL in Week 14 of the 2013 season when the Patriots were playing the Cleveland Browns. That injury caused Gronk to miss the 2013 playoffs as the Patriots came up short against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. While there have been reports that Gronkowski will be ready to go at the start of the 2014 season, it is unclear if that will be the case. Patriots fans certainly hope he will be ready to go and that he stays healthy for the entire 2014 season.
Gronkowski has never been fully healthy for the playoffs, so the Patriots should cut him, right?
There are rumors that the Patriots could cut Gronkowski, but it would be a huge mistake for the Patriots to cut their star tight end. First, when Gronkowski is healthy he is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Gronk and New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham are the two best tight ends in the NFL right now. They can both play like wide receivers, but they each have the body of a tight end which makes them a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
As everyone knows, the window is certainly closing on Patriots QB Tom Brady‘s career. Shouldn’t the Patriots keep one of the best tight ends in football on the roster to help Brady out? Why cut a player who is one of the best red zone threats in the NFL?
Second, in June 2012 Gronkowski signed a six-year, $53 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed — the richest contract ever for a tight end. There is a $10 million team option that, if exercised by the Patriots in 2015, would extend the deal through 2019. Because of Gronkowski’s deal, the Patriots would certainly take a cap hit if they cut him. Even if he has been injury-prone, it just doesn’t make sense to cut a young (24 years old, will turn 25 in May) player who is one of the best at this position and take a cap hit.
If the Patriots are truly worried about Gronkowski’s health they could possibly look to trade him. If the Patriots could get something worthwhile in return that may be an idea they would entertain, but Gronkowski staying with the Patriots probably makes the most sense. The tight end pool in this year’s draft, led by Eric Ebron (North Carolina) and Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), is fairly deep. It should easy for the Patriots to add some depth at the tight end position if they feel that is necessary.
Gronkowski is too talented and would create too large of a cap hit for it to make sense for the Patriots to cut him.