This is the third straight practice Gronkowski has missed.
Mike Reiss on TE Martellus Bennett: I subscribe to the theory that with defenses paying extra attention to Rob Gronkowski, it will open up more opportunities for Bennett. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Patriots run more than 80 percent of their offensive snaps with both tight ends on the field, so it won't be a matter of playing time for Bennett as much as how defenses decide to handle the dual threat at the position. It also helps that Jimmy Garoppolo and Bennett have seemed to develop a rapport in the preseason.
Eleven tight ends played 80 percent or more of the snaps in 2015, so if Bennett reaches that sort of playing time, he'll have a good shot at posting TE1 numbers given the overall production of New England's offense. He also has top five upside if anything were to happen to the injury-prone Gronkowski.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski left Monday’s practice early after pulling up while running a route and his absence extended into Tuesday’s work.
There have been multiple reports that whatever caused Gronkowski to leave practice isn’t considered a serious injury, although coach Bill Belichick didn’t address those reports or Gronkowski’s status during his pre-practice press conference, the story said.
No details on Gronkowski's situation have emerged, but it's possible that he simply felt the early signs of a muscle cramp. Temperatures reached the 90s Monday, and Gronk has many muscles to cramp.
In all likelihood, Gronk will sit in the preseason, as will Julian Edelman.
The story was mostly about just how cautious can the Pats be with Gronk. After a healthy 2016, hopefully for owners this was just a cramping situation. At some point, Gronk and Edelman will have to get back out there.
Gronkowski appeared to suffer an injury during 7-on-7 drills where he pulled up on Tom Brady’s pass in Gronk’s direction. The Patriots tight end walked over to a trainer, who eventually escorted Gronkowski off the field. Gronk walked off under his own power, but was moving slowly as he exited to the rear of the field.
Information about the injury is scarce at the moment, but given Gronk's injury history, it seems worthwhile to pass along the report from Boston.com. We don't recommend Gronkowski in the 1st or 2nd round this season due to the good depth at his position.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski might not want to talk about it, but there seems to be some dissatisfaction with his current contract.
The Patriots may be trying to take care of those early in training camp.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Patriots and Gronkowski’s camp are talking about a pay raise, though nothing appears imminent. His agents, Drew and Jason Rosenhaus, are present at the Patriots facility today.
The Patriots triggered the remaining four years of his deal, through 2019, by paying a bonus in March, which will move his earnings for the next four seasons to $27 million.
The story went on to say Gronk initially signed a six-year, $54 million deal in 2012, which came during his rookie contract. He’s clearly outperforming the contract now, but that’s part of the risk of signing with years remaining on a deal. Recent deals for players such as Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce and others have underscored how underpaid Gronkowski is.
Patriot TEs Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett spent notable time together during practice Thursday, at one point breaking away to the second field with Tom Brady to work close to the goal line. The pairing brought a smile to Gronkowski's face.
"He’s great, a great guy to work with. He’s football smart. He came in and has picked up the playbook very well, which is super, super beneficial here in our offense. So that’s super good to see," he said.
"It’s another guy who is super talented and just wants me to push harder too. Seeing his athleticism and how he gets off the ball, I can bring it in my game, use some of his routes. He can use some of mine, so it’s great to work off each other.”
This is similar to what the Patriots did last year with Gronkowski and Scott Chandler, but the results weren't what the team was hoping for, in part because Chandler battled a nagging knee injury. So they're trying it again this year, with Bennett representing an upgrade in talent alongside Gronkowski, the story said. Bennett is just 19th on our list but it’s feasible that both Gronkowski and Bennett could deliver TE1 numbers. It should be noted that the Patriots did not have a productive pass-catching running back that year with Aaron Hernandez, and Dion Lewis will see his share of targets out of the backfield. Bennett would have top-5 potential if anything were to happen to Gronk.
Lewis tore his ACL in November, so he'll be 10 months removed from surgery in September. He's expected to play in Week 1 but may not be completely comfortable in his surgically repaired knee. In six healthy games, Lewis averaged 12.8 touches for 95 yards and 0.67 TD. On a per game basis, he was #10 in standard and #5 in PPR at the time of his injury. As for Gronkowski, the team is being very careful in the hopes that he'll stay healthy in 2016.
Chandler was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He spent 2007 and 2008 with San Diego (though he was on IR for the '08 season) before landing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2009, spending two seasons bouncing back and forth between the practice squads and active rosters of the Cowboys and Giants before ultimately landing with the Buffalo Bills late in the 2010 season.
He wound up spending four more years with the Bills, ultimately catching 181 passes for 2,112 yards and 17 touchdowns during that stint. He then landed with the New England Patriots for the 2015 season, playing No. 2 to Rob Gronkowski for most of the year and filling in for Gronk as the No. 1 tight end when he missed time. He caught 23 passes for 259 yards and four scores.
Chandler wound up needing knee surgery at the end of the season, though, and according to this Twitter post from his wife, Alissa, that surgery may end his career.
The teams are finalizing a deal, but the Patriots will also receive a sixth-round draft choice in exchange for Bennett, according to sources.
The Patriots have traditionally preferred to run a multiple tight-end offense, which hit its peak in 2011 with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. In 2015, the club thought it had a strong 1-2 punch with Gronkowski and Scott Chandler, who was signed as a free agent, but Chandler didn't pan out after inking a two-year contract worth a maximum value of $5.3 million.
The Bears found a taker in the Patriots, who have been searching for an athletic tight end to fill the Aaron Hernandez role in the offense. Bennett will play second fiddle to Rob Gronkowski, and will likely trail Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis in targets. Bennett's departure opens the door for starter's snaps for Zachary Miller in Chicago. Miller could post TE1 numbers after coming on strong down the stretch last season.
The team announced the tight end inked a five-year contract extension on Monday, keeping him in Philadelphia through 2021.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the extension is worth $42.5 million, with $20 million in guarantees, which makes Ertz the fourth-highest paid tight end in average and guaranteed money, per a source. Jimmy Graham ($10 million), Julius Thomas ($9.2 million) and Rob Gronkowski ($9 million) are the top three in average per year.
Ertz finished as the #10 TE in standard scoring, but was #6 after his Week 8 bye, averaging 6.4 catches for 73 yards and 0.25 TD (on 8.8 targets per game) in his final eight games. On the season, he racked up 75 catches for 853 yards and two scores. Given his size and relative catch radius, his touchdown rate should increase eventually. Playing time was the issue in his first two NFL seasons, but he played 72% of the snaps in 2015 and 79% in his last five games.
Friday, January 22, 2016, 4:44pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee, back, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 20. Gronk caught two TDs last week and his availability for Sunday isn’t a concern.
Thursday, January 21, 2016, 5:50pm
Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 5:55pm
Friday, January 15, 2016, 5:23pm
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee, back, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice Thursday and is questionable for Week 19. Gronkowski’s right knee is bothering him, but the return to Friday practice indicates that he’ll play against the Chiefs
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