I have a serious question with respect to the Patriots making Rob Gronkowski the highest paid tight end in football history: Do you think that in general the Boston media is happy about it? Granted, Gronk is a once-in-a-generation figure, almost as interesting off the field as he is on. He was born to be in the spotlight and generate pageviews. But for the old school Boston media, wouldn’t it have been a much better story if the Patriots and Gronk had a huge falling out over his contract in a couple of years? They would’ve played it up like World War III. The toner-stained wretches are at their absolute best when they’re painting Mr. Kraft as this evil, penny-pinching Feudal lord and Belichick as his cruel taskmaster, oppressing the serfs and keeping them in their place. Even though every year they sign another guy to a huge contract extension, the narrative doesn’t change. Tom Brady is the highest paid quarterback in NFL history. Vince Wilfork the highest paid nose tackle. Logan Mankins the highest paid offensive guard. Wes Welker doesn’t have a long term deal yet, but he’s still making a guaranteed $9.5 million this year, an unheard of sum for a slot receiver. Now Gronk. And each of these guys has earned every penny. But the media in this market refuses to acknowledge that, even if the “Patriots are cheap” storyline was ever true, the script has been flipped. They’re like those Japanese soldiers they kept finding on islands in the Pacific in the ’50s who didn’t know they’d lost the war. Or- better analogy- like Shaughnessy after the Sox won a championship and he still tried to talk about curses and 1918 and “No No Nanette” because it’s all he knew.
The Patriots have gotten this far by paying the guys who are worth it, and not paying guys who aren’t. Mike Vrabel lasted a year in KC. Philly got sick of Asante Samuel’s unwillingness to tackle. Ty Warren just had to take a massive paycut. And the 23 year old who just had the best season by a tight end ever just got the huge payday he deserves. That’s how the Pats roll. That’s how winning is done. But it won’t stop the hand-wringing over how miserly they are next time they’re trying to get a deal done. I promise you somewhere Ron Borges is staring as a MS Word folder filled with “Pats Cheap Out on Gronk” doc files and saying “Now what the hell am I supposed to do I do with this?”
PS. Also keep this in mind next time they tell you Belichick is wasting his time with all these 2nd round draft picks. They didn’t find the best tight end in the game in a basket left on their front steps. @JerryThornton1