Rob Gronkowski’pretty certain’ he’ll return to Patriots despite friction with Bill Belichick

As New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski weighs his future, sources close to him say he has recently expressed that he is more likely to continue his football career than retire at 28 years old.

Gronkowski still hasn’t made a decision, but despite serious considerations since the end of the season of retiring because of physical and mental fatigue, sources say Gronkowski is pretty certain he’ll come back as long as Tom Brady remains with the team.

However, this dose of good news for Patriots fans comes with some dilution: Lingering frustrations remain between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick, along with others in the Patriots organization, according to sources close to each side. Whether those frustrations on either side will impact Gronkowski’s return to the team remains the final piece to this unfinished puzzle.

They could miss Kirk Cousins and promising young cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was inexplicably included in their trade for Alex Smith. But let’s not forget that Smith was the league’s highest-rated passer last season.

If the guys surrounding him can stay healthy, expensive new wide receiver Paul Richardson can live up to his contract in place of Pryor and the team can do something positive with its No. 13 overall pick, the Redskins could be in the playoff picture next season.

The full-breakdown of the supposed two-year, $40 million shows that it’s really a one-year deal, with a team-held option for 2019. The option must be exercised by the third day of the 2019 league year; at that time, he gets a fully-guaranteed roster bonus of $10 million and a fully-guaranteed base salary of $7.5 million.

So to get $17.5 million next year (plus $2.5 million in per-game roster bonuses), Bradford will have to earn his $20 million in 2018. And by $20 million, of course, I mean $15 million. As Gantt previously noted, a full $5 million of Bradford’s supposed $20 million haul in 2018 is tied to Bradford actually being able to suit up and in each and every game.

It’s still not bad at all that Bradford got $15 million guaranteed for a supposedly degenerative knee. But Case Keenum‘s $18 million per year on a two-year deal suddenly looks a lot better if Bradford gets to $20 million per year only if he s in every game of both years. Keenum gets $25 million fully guaranteed at signing, and the whole $36 million is guaranteed for injury.