If the $8M signing bonus is accurate then this will probably go down as one of the best contract extension in Patriots history. The $8M would be spread across the term of the deal, so in the later years of this deal the cap hit to cut him would be virtually nothing. So if he continues to perform like an elite TE, he gets his salary and the contract is a win win, if he doesnt he gets released with no real major ramifications to the team. This is beyond awesome.
But what does this mean for Hernandez? Welker? What are the implications beyond Gronk?
As for Welker, I am sure he is pissed, but hopefully he realizes that Gronk is so much younger that their situations are very different. If Hernandez continues to play at a high level, this move might allow them to use the franchise tag on him so he doesnt hit free agency.
In the short-term, again if the $8M signing bonus is correct, there is really minimal impact on the cap because while his number will be going up it shouldnt be going up that much in the next 2 years. So I think the ramifications to the team are really more about the long term 3-4+ year range.
I am going to reserve judgement until we get all the details of the deal, but does anyone think that Rosenhaus and/or Gronk sold themselves a little short on this deal? I realize that the new AAV of the future years makes him the top paid TE in the league, but they still get the next 2 years at a bargain basement price, and the signing bonus really isnt that significant. If Gronk continues to be great he is going to get his money, but from a risk perspective it seems as though he took on the majority of it, because they can cut him without a big cap hit, and maybe more importantly this could wrap him up until he is 31 so in essence this is the only 'big' deal he will probably every get.