After expressed interest from Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots have traded the retired tight end to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, pairing him with former teammate Tom Brady.
Gronkowski had a one-year, $9 million remaining contract with the Patriots, thus creating the need for a trade. After his initial retirement, Gronkowski said that when his body felt right, he would return to the gridiron at the right time. Yesterday, he decided it was the right time.
Although Gronkowski has spent his retired life on beaches and in clubs, he has remained in what he says the best shape of his life and maintaining his 260-pound frame.
In the trade, the Patriots will receive a fourth-round pick and the Bucs will receive a seventh-round pick. Leave it to the Patriots to receive a draft pick for a player who is retired.
Gronkowski has not played since the 13-3 Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams, a game in which he and Brady made the most important play of the game to set up the only touchdown of the game. In that 2018 season, he caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns.
In his nine seasons with the Patriots, Gronkowski finished with over 1,000 receiving yards four times and accumulated 79 receiving touchdowns. Only Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates have connected on more touchdowns as a quarterback-tight end duo than Brady and Gronkowski have.
Even if Gronkowski can’t be the consistently dominant force that he routinely was, the chemistry between him and Brady will spread throughout the roster and bring in more championship pedigree. With his size, he can still be spread out wide on the goal line and be used situationally to garner attention or catch a touchdown pass off a fade route.
The Bucs continue to chase Super Bowl contention, as they own the 14th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.