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Rob Gronkowski would rather retire than play for a team other than the Patriots

The All Pro tight end only wants to catch passes from Tom Brady.

Houston Texans v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Rumors about a trade involving tight end Rob Gronkowski swirled around the New England Patriots this offseason, but ultimately resulted in a nice incentive-drive pay increase for the All Pro.

What stopped these trade rumors? Gronkowski himself, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“The Patriots engaged in trade talks centered around star tight end Rob Gronkowski [this offseason],” Rapoport reports. “They had several interested parties, and at one point, it appeared a deal would get done to send Gronk to a new team, sources say.

“But when Gronkowski learned of his new reality, he strongly resisted. He informed the Patriots that he would rather step away from football and retire than play for another team, coach or quarterback. He told people close to him that he only wants to catch passes from Tom Brady. [...]

“This all led to an in-person meeting with coach Bill Belichick, Gronkowski’s longtime agent Drew Rosenhaus and Gronkowski, one that culminated in Gronk’s Instagram announcing he was back. Two weeks ago, the two sides agreed on a reworked contract to give him higher upside.

“The team considers him year-to-year, but the events of this offseason likely sealed his fate as a member of the Patriots until he steps away from the NFL for good.”

And so there you have it. The Gronkowski trade rumors ended and the Patriots rewarded their tight end for his decision and desire to remain with the team. No team would be interested in trading for someone threatening retirement, so it’s unlikely that Gronkowski will be on the trade block again.

Gronkowski has two more years on his contract and the Patriots will likely reassess his future after this season. I would expect the Patriots to try and reach an extension with Gronkowski after this season to bring down the tight end’s $9 million base salary in 2019 and establish what should be a record-setting contract for his position.