Patriots add incentives to Gronkowski contract — again

Staff file photo by TOM KING Rob Gronkowski, all smiles at the Super Bowl had incentives added to his contract on Thursday for the second straight year.

A few months ago, after he looked somewhat foolish at a press conference for a motocross event at Gillette Stadium, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick summoned Rob Gronkowski and agent Drew Rosenhaus to his office.

The message: Cut out the nonsense and we’ll eventually take care of you.

Gronkowski ended all talk of retirement, etc. and the Patriots reportedly followed through with their end of the deal, adding incentives to his current contract for the second straight season. He was not expected to play, as was the case with most projected first teamers, in Thursday night’s Patriots preseason finale vs. the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.

Gronkowski will earn his base of $8 million, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the tight end can earn incentives that could help him earn as much as $13 million this season. He has another year after this on the contract.

According to Schefter, Gronkowski can earn $1.1 million for 70 for more catches, $1.1 million for 80 percent playtime, $1.1 million for nine of more touchdown receptions, and $1.1 million for at least 1,085 receiving yards.

Last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. His playing time, according to ESPN, was 79.3 percent. Thus the incentives are looked upon as reachable.

Thus the Patriots have sweetened the deals of the two players, Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady, who did not participate in off-season optional workouts. Neither held out and both reported to mandatory minicamp in June.

But Gronkowski, unlike Brady, was hinting after the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia and in the few months to follow that retirement was a possibility. That talk ended when he was summoned by Belichick in late April.

Now he has $13 million reasons to keep playing at a high level.