Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
Week 18 brings a little extra drama for various league players who are on the verge of hitting lucrative incentives in their contracts. Naturally, players will have in mind the numbers they need to reach that payday before kick-off, and will likely keep a mental note in their heads on where they stand. One example of this came in Tampa on Sunday when the Buccaneers concluded their regular season with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Rob Gronkowski got into this game with the chance to earn up to $ 1 million in incentive bonuses. The veteran tight end needed seven catches and 85 receiving yards to hit his two take downs that were worth $ 500,000 each. Gronkowski did a quick job of his incentive to receive yards by catching a 42-yard pass from Tm Brady in the third quarter. However, he was still one take away from that latest push with less than seven minutes to go.
With the Buccaneers up 14 at this point and the game in hand, there was a case to be made to start resting their starters. However, Tom Brady can be seen telling the coaches he wasn’t going out of the game and ultimately only did when Gronkowski cashed in on the half-million dollar capture.
After Gronkowski got the catch, Blaine Gabbert came on to relieve Brady and the Buccaneers streaked to victory. Gronkowski finished with 137 yards on seven catches, which has now made him a million dollars.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers finished the season 13-4 and will now prepare for a clash against the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Wild Card Weekend.