The last time Rob Gronkowski took the field, he had nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles. The Patriots lost.
Could that have been Gronk’s last game with the Patriots?
Apparently, that possibility is on the table. Following the loss, Gronkowski wouldn’t commit to returning to play football, with the possibility of retirement on the table. It seems like wind is blowing in the direction of Gronkowski returning
Still, per Boston Sports Journal, the University of Arizona product wavering in his decision might have been off-putting for coach Bill Belichick.
Per BSJ …
A Bill Belichick-friendly source agreed with my thinking that once a player makes Belichick start to contemplate life without him, Belichick starts to warm to being without that player. “He imagines you gone,” he said. The longer Gronkowski goes without saying he’s all in, the chances of him being traded increases, the source said.
The reported asking price is a “first-round pick if the team has it, but more likely a high second-rounder and a third.”
If this is actually true and Gronkowski is on the trade block, the next question becomes what exactly the market will be for him.
On one hand, Gronkowski might be the most talented tight end in league history and hasn’t really shown any signs of slowing down, despite injury issues. In 2017, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. But Gronkowski has also battled a number of serious injuries and might be seriously considering retirement in the next year or two.
So which teams are candidates?
The Giants could conceivably put together a convincing package for Gronkowski, especially if they wind up accumulating assets in deals for the No. 2 overall pick and/or star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Though, Beckham and Gronkowski in the same offense would be virtually unstoppable.
The 49ers possess one second-round pick and two third-rounders, plus Gronkowski’s old teammate in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Bills are flush with draft picks and Gronkowski is from Buffalo.
The Cowboys would make sense as a candidate. With receiver Dez Bryant on a steep decline — and possibly being released anyway — Dallas is lacking for offensive weapons and general manager/owner Jerry Jones is prone to making bold personnel decisions.
The Rams seem to be connected to basically every star player that comes available of late, including Beckham, and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t inquire about Gronkowski’s availability, too.
It’s unclear — and unlikely — if the Patriots actually have any interest in trading the league’s best tight end, but they’ll have options if they do go in that direction.