The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski are targeting a Week 1 return for the tight end, the NFL Network reported Monday.
Gronkowski’s rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered last season is on schedule, and the All-Pro could participate in training camp, but both the player and the team “aren’t doing anything to jeopardize the goal” of having him on the field for the Patriots’ opener in Miami on Sept. 7, the network reported.
Gronkowski was injured in Week 13 last year, just his seventh game of the season. He had 39 receptions for 592 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Patriots finalized a deal with first-rounder Dominique Easley Monday.
Easley, a 6-foot-2-inch, 288-pound defensive lineman, was the 29th overall pick out of Florida. Though Easley was on a path to being a higher selection, he tore his ACL in the Gators’ third game last fall, ending his senior season.
Easley was not spotted during Patriots OTA practices open to media over the last four weeks, and he was a limited participant in drills on the final day of minicamp last Thursday.
Exact contract terms aren’t yet known, but under the rookie pay scale in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, Easley’s four-year deal has a total value of $7.3 million, with a signing bonus of $3.63 million. His deal guarantees about $5.8 million. Teams also can include a fifth-year option.
The Patriots will open training camp July 24, one day after veterans must report.
They will open camp with four straight days of practices Thursday through Sunday. Times have not been announced.
The Patriots will hold joint practices with the Redskins and Eagles in advance of their exhibition game against each.
The Redskins announced the sessions will be Aug. 4-6 in Richmond, Va. The teams play Aug. 7 at FedEx Field.
The Patriots face Philadelphia Aug. 15 at Gillette Stadium and will practice together Aug. 12-13. Practices are free and open to the public.