New England Patriots

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski knew he had options when it came to getting his contract issues with the team solved before the start of the 2018 regular season. But choosing a different path than some other underpaid stars in the National Football League, and instead being a good soldier for the Patriots, Gronkowski is happy with how it’s all turned out.

“It’s definitely a relief to have that all out of the way,” Gronkowski, who restructured his deal late last week, said. “That was last week, and now that’s in the past which is good and [I] just can put my main focus on the Houston Texans now.

“I mean, it didn’t weigh on me at all. Everything’s always in the works. I mean, nothing’s just going to happen in a day, something like that. So, it’s in the past now. It happened last week, so it’s go time now. That’s all.”

The restructure, which could pay the 29-year-old Gronkowski close to another $4.5 million in more-than-attainable performance bonuses, could line No. 87 up to be among the game’s top-paid tight end talents in real cash this season. It also came with Gronkowski and the Patriots somehow avoiding the aforementioned path of others, such as the Rams’ Aaron Donald and Raiders-turned-Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who both held out of their team’s respective training camps until they got paid. Given his status as the game’s obviously top tier tight end, this was perhaps Gronkowski’s easiest path to a payday.

But according to the man himself, a holdout was not something that Gronkowski even considered as an option.

“I mean, I’m super satisfied with my situation,” Gronkowski acknowledged. “I mean, if I wasn’t, then I would try and pull a move like [Donald and Mack] do which works out. They get rewarded for holding out. But I’m not frustrated at all or anything.”

Coming off a 69-catch season that included 1,084 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, Gronkowski is going to once again be the focal point of the Patriots’ passing attack, especially with a seemingly thinned out supporting cast at wide receiver.

“I’m super satisfied and just ready to go, ready to play,” said Gronkowski. “That’s my main focus.”

The Patriots open their 2018 season this Sunday at home against the Texans.