Another day, another Pro Football Talk speculation story about the Bucs. But this one is not about Tom Brady or Bruce Arians.

The latest is regarding tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has yet to re-sign with Tampa Bay. The PFT story speculates that Gronkowski’s contract demands may be what is keeping him unsigned. And as it turns out, it’s another incorrect speculation piece – as usual.

“At the heart of the issue could be the question of what the Bucs can or will pay Gronkowski,” wrote PFT’s Mike Florio.”It’s not unreasonable to ask whether Gronk is worth more than the $8 million or $10 million or whatever compensation package the Bucs will offer him.

“He’s worth a lot more than that. The question is whether they offer him enough to make playing worth his while.”

Gronkowski, who just turned 33, is using the offseason to weigh his options. Does he want to retire again, as he did during the 2019 season? Or will he play one more year now that Tom Brady has un-retired and is back for one more season with the Bucs?

The fact that the future Hall of Fame tight end has yet to sign has absolutely nothing to do with money, according to a source close to the Gronkowski situation.

Gronkowski Has Played On Deals Below Market Value Before

Gronkowski has signed two one-year deals since he came out of retirement, with the Bucs acquiring him in a trade with the Patriots in 2020. He played the 2020 season for $10 million, which was the final year remaining on his New England deal. Gronkowski then signed a one-year contract with the Bucs worth $8.5 million last season, according to OverTheCap.com.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: USA Today

If he decides to play one more season, it is reasonable to expect that Gronkowski would play on a similar deal worth between $8.5 million and $10 million. Gronkowski caught 45 passes for 623 yards (13.8 avg.) and seven touchdowns in the 2020 regular season, and he added a pair of TDs in Super Bowl LV. Last year, he hauled in 55 passes for 802 yards (14.6 avg.) and six touchdowns in 12 games.

Even if Gronkowski wanted a slight raise after a better statistical season, the Bucs could certainly afford it and would be willing to pay it. Tampa Bay has cleared an additional $9.72 million in cap room by restructuring Brady’s contract this offseason. The team currently has $12,167,430 of available cap space to sign Gronkowski and the rest of the team’s draft picks.

At the time of his big, six-year contract extension with the Patriots in 2012, Gronkowski became the highest-paid tight end in the league. But since his $54 million extension, the five-time Pro Bowler has not seemed to care about remaining on top financially. Perhaps it’s the extra millions of dollars he makes in commercials and endorsements. Gronkowski has famously lived off of his endorsement revenue and saved every bit of his football salary through the years.

Gronkowski Is Enjoying His Offseason And Deciding Whether To Return To Football

So, for PFT to suggest that Gronkowski might be holding out for more money seems curious at best. Given the last two below-market value contracts he’s signed, there is no recent evidence to suggest that money is the reason why Gronkowski hasn’t signed with the Bucs yet.

Instead, it’s obvious that Gronkowski wanted to have plenty of rest and fun this offseason, given his Gronk Beach bash the weekend of the NFL Draft in Las Vegas. If Gronkowski decides to re-sign with the Bucs, it will likely be right before the team’s mandatory mini-camp, which begins on June 6, or the start of training camp in late July.

Gronkowski currently has a dead cap hit of $5 million as a result of the team deferring some of his cap hit from last year’s contract to a voidable year in 2022. Gronkowski was paid $8.5 million in cash last year, but only hit the Bucs’ salary cap for $3.5 million. If he re-signs with Tampa Bay, the team will likely deploy a similar contract structure to lower his 2022 cap charge and push some of that salary into the future with dead money in 2023.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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RW
RW
1 month ago

Mike Florio is such a piece of crap!

Runole
Runole
Reply to  RW
1 month ago

Both he and Simms remain bitter over their absolute declaration that Brady would never play for the Bucs this season! lol

Buc-Up
Buc-Up
1 month ago

As long as he’s in football shape and on the roster for the first game I don’t care when he signs a new contract! He already knows the offense and obviously has the timing down with Brady, so let the other TE’s get the reps in these camps.

fredster
fredster
1 month ago

People just trying to make up any story in the boring off-season. There is nothing to suggest money is any factor here. Bucs just waiting for Gronk to decide. Most Likely he just wants to have fun until the last minute. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play this last year with Brady. I’d be more than surprised if money was a factor at all.

Runole
Runole
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

agree!

MIArmysoldier
MIArmysoldier
1 month ago

Florio is a douche. He has a vendetta against Brady and the Bucs- his write ups about the Bucs, Brady, or Arians always have a negative spin on them. But if you call Florio out in the comments on PFT, they make it so you can’t comment anymore- I know from personal experience.

Gatorbait36
Gatorbait36
Reply to  MIArmysoldier
1 month ago

Amen! I stopped reading that page completely due to Florio politicizing football. I watch sports as a vacation from all things political. I’ve left comments that were not inflammatory or filled with any profanity, I merely poked holes in Florio’s points….comments were not published.

Runole
Runole
Reply to  Gatorbait36
1 month ago

Yes Florio and Simms have real trouble admitting they are wrong when called out. Not a good look. Agree sports are a respite from politics for most fans.

drdneast
drdneast
1 month ago

Mike Florio must have an ax to grind against the Bucs and Brady. His wild speculation about BA’s retirement fizzled out when Brady sat at the front row during BA’s retirment speech and wrote glowingly about his head coach afterwards. This left many people to decide whether Tom Brady was the biggest traitor and socieopath since Donald Trump or Florio was just a mere hack trying to grab the spotlight and a headline. Most people decided the latter.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

And right after Runole and Gator make a comment about keeping politics out of sports; as if someone mentioned Freddie Krueger, here’s DrD to regurgitate his on-going, worn-out narrative. Perhaps your name should be added to Trump and Florio.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

You could do that, but I base my opinions on fact, not inuendo.

Gatorbait36
Gatorbait36
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

HAHAHA….”fact”. Enjoy those midterms, kiddo!

jrwilson85
jrwilson85
1 month ago

Gronk is not just a helicopter, he’s a Black Hawk fully loaded !!!

parnelldickinson
parnelldickinson
1 month ago

Gronk was paid $8 mil the 11th highest paid tight end. He should be at least the 5th highest paid over hunter henry at #5 $12.5 mil. Gronk bossed out for us last year and we would not have made the playoffs without him last year. So dont cry if he asks for more money, hopefully he doesnt but he has every right too, Hes arguably the 4th/5th best tight end in the league.

Spitfire
Spitfire
1 month ago

After finding out Gronk faked his workout tape last year, I completely believe he’s just taking time off before it’s time to really go to work. I 100% think Gronk will sign in time for Camp. I know he got hurt last year which was actually pretty scary, but we brought in the right kind of guys to lighten his load and not make him have to work so hard. I think knowing this is probably Brady’s last year he will want to go through it with him knowing that it will be a final hoorah and try to go… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire
Reply to  Spitfire
1 month ago

It’s funny because I used to be so proud of the Bucs for not destroying their future Cap and it scared me when they started doing it but then you realize, it’s the only way to field a contender in todays NFL. We had 18 years of ups and downs and were never close to going all the way. Unfortunately you have to push things forward to field a competitive roster and spend a year or two making up for it down the road before doing it all over again.

Spitfire
Spitfire
1 month ago

These General Sports Media Goofballs have nothing better to do than try to speculate while there’s nothing to write about. I highly doubt Gronk returning has anything to do with money and everything to do with if he feels like it. I have a feeling he does and if he wasn’t gonna return he would have just said it already.

warren
warren
1 month ago

Mike Florio is a Vikings fan who is bitter that his favored team has been overpaying their QB Cousins since 2018 & can’t even sniff the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bucs got the GOAT two years ago, won one Super Bowl & would have won another if a certain WR hadn’t quit on the team & our defense was sleeping on the play that got the Rams in FG range.

parnelldickinson
parnelldickinson
1 month ago

“Give the man his money” teddy kgb