The Cost of an Elbow: Gronkowski Loses Big Money, Patriots Lose Top Player
The NFL has upheld the suspension of Rob Gronkowski and he will not be available for the Patriots on Monday Night Football in Miami. Gronkowski was suspended for an ugly, unnecessary cheap shot after a play against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. With playoff seeding on the line, the Patriots will need to continue their winning ways to gain home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Currently, they are the #2 seed although Pittsburgh and New England are tied for the best record in both the AFC and the NFL at 10-2. They will meet in Pittsburgh in two weeks with the winner no doubt getting home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Both teams are either way in a great position to earn a first-round bye as they hold a two-game lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars with four to play. So, to the crux of the matter, with a roster already majorly depleted by injury, the Patriots can ill-afford to lose arguably their most talented skill position player other than Tom Brady.
From a team standpoint, he’s taking a big part of the Patriots offense, and their leading receiver in terms of catches out of the equation on Monday Night. You just can’t replace Gronkowski in the offense with one player, others will have to step up and take a piece of his production, as there is no one in the NFL with his skill sets. For an offense already banged up and thin at receiver, it puts more burden on #12.
That is sure to be the message that Bill Belichick puts in his ear this week. Can they beat Miami without him? Of course, but it just made it that much harder. If the game is close, having Gronkowski on the field is a force multiplier and a tremendous target for Brady in the passing game.
Not only is it hurting the team, this suspension will hit Gronkowski in his pocketbook. He’ll lose his $250,000 game day check, his $31,250 game day roster bonus, but as our friend Miguel @Patscap posted on December 4, the tiers for Gronkowski’s bonus incentives in his contract will be affected. The upper tier $2.5 million dollars is now unlikely to be earned now. He hit his first tier at $1million. The middle $2 million dollar tier is now up in the air and his upper tier now in danger.
That’s a lot of money that just came off the table for the big man. He let his team and his coaches down for an incident that was totally unnecessary. This will do harm to his reputation as well, not to mention the cost to TreDavious White who is in the concussion protocol.
Was it worth it?