After the day started with a rumor that Rob Gronkowski wanted to come out of retirement to play for the Buccaneers, that story came to fruition as the Patriots traded Gronkowski’s rights to the Buccaneers along with a seventh round pick in exchange for a Bucs’ fourth round pick. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Gronkowski only wanted to play alongside Tom Brady if he was to come out of retirement. This desire goes back to 2018 when Gronkowski was nearly traded by the Patriots to the Lions until he threatened to retire if he wasn’t playing with Tom Brady as his quarterback.
The Buccaneers acquire an elite weapon for Brady to throw to and since Tampa Bay didn’t have to give up OJ Howard. They now have three tight end weapons in Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, to go along with stong wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. However, it is still possible that Howard could be moved as we get closer and closer to the draft. The Bucaneers now have an elite recieving core with a prominent quarterback. However, there is a big question mark that remains as to how Gronkowski will perform considering that he didn’t play last season and has beeen injruy prone. On top of that, Tampa Bay will be paying $10m to a guy who has averaged less than twelve games played a season over the last seven years. The flip side is, if Gronkowski is able to still produce, Tampa Bay would make their presence felt in the NFC South even stronger with the addition of one of the greatest receiving tight ends of all time.
The Patriots acquire a fourth round draft pick that they might try to use to trade up in Thursday’s draft considering that they have the 23rd pick and then don’t make a selection again until pick 87. This would make sense since New England is retooling their roster and is expected to take a quarterback in the draft. The Patriots now only have two tight ends remaining on their roster including Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. This begs the question why they did not acquire OJ Howard in return for Gronkowski? New England will have a lot of work to do in the draft to address their need at the tight end position and lack of receivers in general.
It will be fascinating to see Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski reunited in Tampa Bay and how the Patriots will fix up their receiving core.