So today was a roller coaster of emotions if you follow the New England Patriots beat writers on Twitter. All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was being treated as if he were being traded, until NBCSB’s Tom Curran ended the discussion by saying that there is no trade for Gronkowski.
All of that happened in the span of a half hour.
Some might say that these writers were putting out unfounded conjecture, but multiple reporters were chasing this same story- reporters that I trust not to promote a story for the sake of pageviews.
So what happened?
Adam Kurkjian, former writer for the Boston Herald and a friend of mine, laid out all of the rumors that he had been told during this discussion (I’ve paraphrased from Twitter-speak for ease of reading):
From multiple sources, here’s what I have regarding the Gronkowski rumors: I was told Belichick wanted to trade him and there were offers on the table with both the Titans and 49ers. He and Robert Kraft had a closed-door meeting to discuss. Tom Brady threatened to retire if the deal went through so Kraft nixed it.
Statement from Pats PR head Stacey James: “I would say with the utmost confidence that none of that is true. None of it.”
There’s no surprise that the Patriots would deny this series of events, but the implications- if true- are large. It would mark the second time over the past year that Belichick’s control over the roster was pressured by Kraft and Brady, the other time being the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.
If this is all true- and I repeat loudly for those in the back that these are only rumors- then you can expect a summer and season full of “Belichick and Brady hate each other!” stories.
Personally, I’ll wait until someone like Tom Curran or Mike Reiss or Jeff Howe verifies these claims before buying into the rumor. Trading Rob Gronkowski to either the Tennessee Titans or San Francisco 49ers just doesn’t make much sense, especially with Julian Edelman sidelined for the first four games of the season and without a proven alternative at the tight end position.
What would the Patriots offense look like without Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman since 2017 studs Dion Lewis and Brandin Cooks not in a Patriots uniform? Brady would be left throwing to Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Dwayne Allen, and handing the ball off to Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, and James White.
And, well, that isn’t horrendous when you type it out, but it is undeniably less than ideal when Brady is entering the twilight of his career.
Gronkowski is simply the most important non-Brady player on the Patriots offense, with Edelman an easy third-place. Remove both from the equation and Brady and the offense would be at risk of declining to 2013-levels.
I’m going to wait on this rumor to be confirmed and I’m going to laugh if Gronkowski signs a contract extension or receives an incentive bump in the coming weeks.
Alternatively, a different discussion question of note is “What would it cost for you to trade Rob Gronkowski?”
I’m not taking less than a first rounder and a conditional second if he remains healthy (which is what the Patriots should have received from the 49ers in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but this isn’t the place to vent about that).