The New England Patriots have broken Rob Gronkowski's $10 million bonus into two payments, with $4 million to be paid now and $6 million to be paid by the end of the year.
The tight end will receive $4 million during training camp, and $6 million by the end of the league year, Yates reports.
Gronkowski's six-year, $54 million contract required that the Patriots pay him the $10 million bonus by the end of 2015, or he would become a free agent. By agreeing to pay the bonus, New England keeps Gronkowski under team control for four more years.
The restructured deal has no impact on the Patriots' salary cap.
Paying part of Gronkowski's bonus early is a way for the Patriots to reward the 26-year-old for his performance over the past five seasons. Since 2010, Gronkowski has caught 54 touchdowns in 65 games. Last season, he caught 82 passes and logged 1,124 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns.
- Erin Flynn