In hindsight, this trade off is a no brainer. Panthers TE Greg Olsen, who is very goo din his own right, for Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski? Even Olsen’s own parents would trade for Gronkowski.
But if we go back to 2010, this exchange might have actually happened while Olsen was still a member of the Chicago Bears.
“Interesting story relayed by former Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel on “The Tim Graham Show” on 1270 The Fan last week in Buffalo,” as ESPN’s Mike Reiss shares in his Sunday Notes, “as he said then-Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo and Bill Belichick had the general parameters in place on a 2010 draft-day trade that would have sent tight end Greg Olsen to the Patriots for a second-round pick. Gabriel relayed on the show that the Bears were anticipating a phone call from the Patriots that day, but it never came after New England traded up in the second round to pick Rob Gronkowski.”
The Patriots entered the second round with the 44th overall pick in the 2010 draft (and a 2009 7th round pick that became WR Julian Edelman) after trading a 2009 3rd round pick to the Jaguars, the 47th overall pick, and the 53rd overall pick (ED Jermaine Cunningham). The Patriots traded down from the 47th to the 62nd overall pick (LB Brandon Spikes).
But the Patriots had 2nd round picks to spare and they had their eyes on Olsen- if they couldn’t get their top choice in TE Rob Gronkowski.
Remember that the Patriots had to trade up from 44th to the Raiders’ 42nd pick in order to leap frog the Ravens at 43rd overall. The Ravens were on the market for a tight end (they eventually drafted Dennis Pitta in the 4th round) and if they had made a move up to take Gronkowski, then the Patriots probably would have settled and traded for Olsen (the Ravens claim they didn’t have Gronkowski on their draft board due to injury concerns).
Now the Patriots could have traded one of their later 2nd for Olsen, but once they drafted Gronkowski, there was no need to trade anymore. The only way Olsen would have come to the Patriots would have been if they missed out on Gronkowski.
The Bears eventually traded Olsen to the Panthers for a 3rd round pick in 2011, where Olsen has reached multiple Pro Bowls and was named 2nd Team All Pro in 2015. Olsen is currently en route to a third straight 1,000+ yard season.
Chicago, well, the Patriots finally traded a 4th round pick for their tight end; Martellus Bennett has arguably been one of the top five most important Patriots over the first three weeks of the year.