Michael Lombardi Says Gronk's Only Issue is Money. Thank God.
Source – The Rob Gronkowski saga is a relatively straightforward matter, according to former Patriots assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi.
It’s about one thing: Getting paid.
“I think people are confusing this thing so dramatically,” Lombardi said on The Ringer’s ‘GM Street’ podcast. “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. …
“It’s hard to pay Gronk. Because, I mean, let’s face it: If we were doing a fantasy draft, we would pick Gronk over Sammy Watkins, who’s making $16 million (in 2018). We would pick Gronk over most offensive players. So he’s hard to do a contract for. This is about money. It’s greed. It’s money.”
Assuming this is true – and I am doing exactly that since Michael Lombardi and Bill Belichick are boys going all the way back to their Cleveland days – then isn’t this the best case scenario? Wouldn’t this be the optimal possible explanation for all the weirdness that’s gone on, from that moment in the locker room in Minneapolis when Gronkowski stumbled over a simple question about whether he was coming back through to Saturday’s goofy press conference and every indecipherable coded social media message in between?
Of course no one doubted for a hot second that money was a factor in all this. But I need it to turn out that it’s the only factor. There’ll just be something oddly comforting in knowing that the Gronkowski family’s beef is the same basic one that’s been around since the Hebrews built the pyramids for the low, low minimum wage of not getting whipped to death: A good old fashioned salary dispute.
Not only would this be a billion times better than finding out Gronk’s feelings were hurt because Belichick ripped him in front of the team last September or he’s going to the mattresses on the Alex Guerrero situation or he’s just flat out sick of getting his dick beaten in week after week, it would also explain a ton. It would make sense of all this buzz about him tag-teaming with Mojo Rawley or moving to LA to become the Denzel Washington for a new generation or whatever. He’s under contract and playing the WWE card/Hollywood cards are the only leverage Drew Rosenhaus has.
And the fact this is about a new deal and no other thing gives the Patriots leverage of their own to say “no fucking way.” Last year Rosenhaus had the least amount juice an agent can possibly have when trying to squeeze more money out of ownership. His client had years remaining on his deal and the team had just won a championship without him. There is literally nothing you can say in that situation to demand a pay raise. But the Pats gave him one anyway, with an incentive-laden deal that protected them. One that worked out for both sides. And now he wants another one? When the rules don’t even allow it? Da fuq outta here with that. Sure, the salary structure makes no sense. And in no reality outside the pro football Bizarro World would Sammy Watkins be making almost twice was Gronk does. But that’s the business they’ve chosen.
None of which by the way is me saying the Patriots won’t give the Gronk camp what they’re looking for. Just that they are under no obligation to. If they do, it’ll be a gesture. One designed to hopefully buy a little goodwill when they’re unhappy next year. But at least the motivation of the player and the agent is something we can relate to and not just that he’s unhappy playing here. Between this and Brady’s agent saying he’s not going anywhere, hopefully this just means the offseason has bottomed out and it’s all uphill from here.