Why Rob Gronkowski’s ‘Surprise’ Deactivation Vs. Bucs Could Hurt His Wallet

A road win on a short week without having to use Rob Gronkowski? The New England Patriots will take it. But apparently sitting out wasn’t exactly in Gronkowski’s best interest.

The Patriots tight end’s inactivity for Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite traveling with the team came as a “surprise” to some in his “inner circle,” who made the trip to Raymond James Stadium with the expectation of watching him play, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday morning.

Furthermore, Gronk’s absence has significant implications for his contract incentives. Per Reiss, the tight end has playing time clauses in his contract: If he plays 90 percent of New England’s snaps this year, he’ll earn $10.75 million; if he plays 80 percent, he’ll earn $8.75 million; if he plays 70 percent, he’ll earn $6.75 million.

After Thursday, Gronkowski now has played in 70.4 percent (257 of 365) of the Patriots’ offensive snaps through four games, according to Reiss.

If that trend holds, Gronk could lose out on $4 million in contract incentives. Of course, it’s still early: If the Patriots average 90 snaps over their final 12 games (they’ve averaged 91.25 in their first four contests) and Gronkowski plays every one of them, he’ll hit a 92.5 percent snap rate. But that’s a tall task for a player with a considerable injury history who’s already battling a few ailments this season.

The 28-year-old tight end likely would have been able to play this week if New England played Sunday instead of Thursday, per Reiss, so the expectation is he’ll be good to go in Week 6 against the New York Jets. His wallet will be hoping that’s the case.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

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