By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Now that Labor Day has come and gone marking the unofficial end of summer, crazed football fans are hungry for bear as the 2018 NFL season is set to begin on Thursday night as the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons.
There is no shortage of stories as the games are set to begin. Whether it be iconic players who are set to hit historic milestones as detailed here, or that despite seemingly getting worse in the offseason, the New England Patriots – led by the 41-year-old reigning league MVP Tom Brady – are once again favorites to win it all according to most experts.
However, perhaps the most bizarre story entering the fall is the curious contractual incentives involving Brady and the most lethal receiving weapon in football – his tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
While Aaron Rodgers and his single Super Bowl appearance that resulted in his only championship set the record this summer for quarterback contracts, Brady and Gronkowski performance-based bonuses to make up for their grossly underpaid status.
Welcome to Bill’s Bargain Basement, located in the bowels of Gillette Stadium on Route 1 in Foxboro. Past performances may not go unappreciated, but that doesn’t mean highly productive players will get paid in the future.
Coming off his record 8th appearance in the Super Bowl – in which he threw for a record 505 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions – the five-time champ was offered was is the NFL equivalent of five million dollars in chump change incentives to add to his currently ranked 17th place salary amongst signal callers this season.
As for Gronkowski – who just eight seasons into his career is already being considered by some as the best player ever to play the tight end position – the tightwad titan of NFL coaches/GMs saw fit to sprinkle a little less of a potential raise to his best offensive weapon following his Hall of Fame QB, offering the five-time Pro Bowler $4.8 million in performance incentives.
So what’s a pair of GOATs to do when faced with such a financially based conundrum? Help each other, of course.
Based on the fact that Brady’s binky – slot receiver Julian Edelman – is serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance – not to mention the wide receivers group reads like of list of guys who got cut from their high school JV squad – TB12 is sure to be looking in number 87’s direction even more to start the season.
Whether or not this dynamic duo will be able to combine enough times to extend the franchise’s dynastic run that is approaching two decades – or help each other to benefit financially – will be determined over the next four months.
However, given their history, if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet against them.