Rob Gronkowski

LOS ANGELES: Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has re-signed with the Super Bowl champions on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, reports said Monday. Gronkowski, a long-time New England Patriots teammate and close friend of Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, will receive $8 million for the 2021 campaign with bonuses worth an additional $2 million, reported.

The 31-year-old future Hall-of-Famer came out of retirement last year to reunite with Brady in Tampa Bay, and scored two touchdowns in the Bucs' 31-9 Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs last month. News of Gronkowski's return to Tampa Bay next season comes after Brady on Friday agreed a contract extension that will keep him in Florida for the next two seasons at least.

Brady's restructured deal allows Tampa Bay to make payroll savings aimed at ensuring that the core of the team that won the Super Bowl is available to return next season. As the NFL's free agency negotiating period opened on Monday, the Buccaneers also moved to lock up star pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett.

Barrett has inked a four-year deal worth up to $72 million, with $36 million in salary guaranteed. He confirmed the new deal in a post on Instagram. "If it's meant to be, it will be," Barrett wrote. "Something special about this whole organization and am so excited to be a part of it for four more years."

Barrett was a key member of the Buccaneers' dominant defense last season, sacking Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers three times in the NFC Championship game before sacking Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. In other notable free agency deals on Monday, the Chiefs strengthened their offensive line after snapping up New England's Joe Thuney in a five-year deal worth $80 million, according to ESPN.

The 28-year-old Thuney played five seasons for the Patriots after being drafted in 2016, and appeared in three straight Super Bowls in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The move should give Chiefs quarterback Mahomes better protection after he was run ragged by Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. - AFP