Patriots send the message they’re open to re-signing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
NEW ORLEANS — New England Patriots tight ends Rob Gronk and Travis Kelce practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but coach Bill Belichick still is weighing whether to rework his tight ends’ contracts and whether to release Kelce.
The two tight ends were limited in practice during Thursday’s mandatory minicamp, but Gronk said he had no problems.
“We’re open,” Gronk told reporters after practice.
“I think they’re good guys.
It’s just a matter of when and how much time I can play.”
Gronk, who has five catches for 68 yards this season, said he has never seen the team so eager to reevaluate its tight ends, but he expects to be back.
“They want to make sure I’m not going to be the guy to get me in trouble,” Gronkowski said.
“The last couple of years I’ve been very good at getting my hands dirty and getting myself in trouble.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to let myself get hurt.
I’ve had a lot of good teammates, so I’m very excited to be on a team like this.”
Kelce is on a one-year, $8 million deal.
Kelce has one catch for 14 yards this year.
“Travis is really the heart and soul of our team,” Belichick said.
“[He] can play any position, from tight end to tight end.
He’s really an integral part of our offense.”
Belichick said he is leaning toward re-evaluating the tight ends contracts.
“At this point, I think we have a really good understanding on where the tight end contracts are and where they’re at,” Belichick told reporters.
“Obviously, we have guys that are really good.
And if they want to do anything, it’s their decision.”
Belichick, who also has a quarterback situation on the line and a defensive line situation that he hopes will be resolved soon, said that Kelce’s $8.5 million salary cap hit was too high for him to rehire.
“When you get to $8,000, $9,000 in cap hit and you’re looking at guys like [Brandon] Spikes, [James] Harrison, [David] Andrews, it was a little bit too much,” Belichick explained.
“But I don’t want to put anybody’s livelihood at risk and I don.
I don’ t want to be looking at anybody like that.”
Gronkowski, who will be 33 in May, has three catches for 39 yards this preseason.
“If I’m the guy, I’m in the best shape of my life,” Gronker said.