Update 4/21/2020: Patriots trade Rob Gronkowski, seventh-round pick to Buccaneers for fourth-round selection
Shortly after the original report broke that Gronkowski has asked the Patriots to trade him to Tampa Bay, the move has been completed: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New England has sent the tight end and a seventh-round draft pick to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round selection.
Original story 4/21/2020: Rob Gronkowski reportedly told Patriots he wants to return to football, get traded to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers
After nine seasons with the New England Patriots, three Super Bowl wins, and countless individual accolades, the greatest tight end of his generation called it a career last March. But while Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from pro football, it seem as if it may end up lasting only one season: according to a report NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Gronkowski has told the Patriots that he wants to return to the NFL again.
There is a catch, though.
The future Hall of Famer has reportedly asked the organization to trade him to the team of his former quarterback: Gronkowski wants New England to move him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to reunite him with Tom Brady. The two teams already had talks with each other about a potential move, which would be necessary considering that the soon-to-be 31-year-old is still under contract in New England for the 2020 season.
When a potential trade involving Gronkowski happens remains to be seen — there is speculation it may take place before the draft — and also how it would look like. After all, he would still be considered a tremendous asset for any offense even after a year away from football. Accordingly, the Patriots might be able to get a solid return if the Buccaneers are indeed open to acquiring him and his $9.25 million salary cap hit.
New England is entering this week’s draft with 12 selections in the fold, but a 63-pick gap between its first- (No. 23) and third-round selections (No. 87). The Buccaneers, on the other hand, have two selections right in this area — pick No. 45th in the second round and pick No. 75 in the third — while also owning the 14th overall pick. That said, Gronkowski getting traded to Tampa with one of the three selections being tied to it would be a slight surprise.
After all, he spent all of 2019 away from football and also finds himself on the wrong side of 30 and with a long injury history. Furthermore, he and the Buccaneers own leverage versus the Patriots: if he decided to un-retire while still under contract in New England, his cap number would hit the team’s books — a potentially bad situation considering the team’s current salary cap predicament (New England has just $1.1 million in cap space at the moment).