Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

Tom E. Curran on NFL Sunday predicts this is Rob Gronkowski's final year as member of Patriots

November 11, 2018 - 2:46 pm

When Rob Gronkowski spoke on Friday, he admitted it has been a frustrating year.

The tight end has battled ankle/back injuries since early in the year and now has missed three out of the last four games, including Sunday in Tennessee.

Appearing on WEEI's NFL Sunday, NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran predicted this will be Gronkowski's last year in New England, citing his contract.

“I didn’t expect him to play [this week]," Curran said. "Just as the week wore along just more and more talk of have this week, then the bye week, then the time off — should bring him back for a stretch run where he should be able to be approaching effectiveness. Now, how close can he get to that level of effectiveness with the ankle and the back, and I think it is more the ankle than the back at this juncture, we’ll see.

"Certainly, when you look at the arch of Gronk’s time here, this is probably the stretch run of Rob Gronkowski as a New England Patriot. These final [five or six] games and then the postseason.”

Added Curran: “I am not saying he’s done at his on volition, I am saying this is his final period of time as a Patriot. He’s on the books for $11.7 million. They tried to get out from under it last year, weren’t able to do it with that $11.7 million. To no fault of Gronk’s, his body, his ankle/back, he hasn’t been able to bring them the reward. They are not going to be interested in, after not getting $11.7 in cap hit out of him, going up to $12 million in cap hit next year for the final season of his contract.”

Gronkowski has 29 catches for 448 yards and a touchdown this season.

Related: Sunday 7: James White has been Patriots' MVP this year