Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Week 18 brings with it a little extra drama for various players across the league who are on the doorstep of hitting some lucrative incentives in their contracts. Naturally, players will have the numbers they need in mind to reach that payday before kickoff and are likely keeping a mental note in their head on where they’re at. One example of that unfolded in Tampa on Sunday when the Buccaneers wrapped up their regular season with a win over the Carolina Panthers.
Rob Gronkowski went into this game with the possibility of earning up to $1 million in incentive bonuses. The veteran tight end needed seven catches and 85 receiving yards in order to hit his two incentives that were worth $500,000 apiece. Gronkowski made quick work of his receiving yards incentive as he caught a 42-yard pass from Tm Brady in the third quarter. However, he was still one catch away from that last incentive with less than seven minutes to go.
With the Buccaneers up by 14 at that point and the game in hand, there was a case to be made to begin resting their starters. However, Tom Brady can be seen telling coaches that he would not come out of the game and eventually only did so when Gronkowski cashed in on the half-million-dollar catch.
After Gronkowski made the catch, Blaine Gabbert came in to relieve Brady and the Buccaneers cruised to the victory. Gronkowski finished with 137 yards receiving on seven catches that now has him $1 million richer.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers finished the season with a 13-4 record and will now gear up for a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Super Wild Card Weekend.