Patriots rumors: Rob Gronkowski to join Tom Brady with Buccaneers?

While it seems speculative rumor at this point, the New England Patriots could possibly witness former tight end Rob Gronkowski end his retirement to join quarterback Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The New England Patriots‘ 2020 offseason has already been interesting enough, headlined by the blockbuster departure of quarterback Tom Brady in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now, there are some swirling rumors Brady could be looking at a reunion of sorts, this time with former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski, the three-time first-team All-Pro who retired after the 2018 season, has been making a name for himself in the WWE, flashing his still-unique personality and physical abilities in another passion of his.

The rumor itself? None other than NFL insider Leroy:

Yes, the dog.

For reference, Leroy is part of the Barstool Sports group, so make of that what you wish. But the idea of it happening isn’t entirely out of the question.

The first hurdle, however, is assuming whether or not the Buccaneers would be interested in the first place. Tampa Bay already has two pass-catching tight ends in Cameron Brate and the 2017 first-round NFL Draft pick, O.J. Howard. So it isn’t as if this is a pressing need for head coach Bruce Arians, although neither Brate nor Howard have anything close to the kind of résumé Gronk possesses.

But with the Buccaneers suddenly emerging as legitimate playoff contenders with Brady now on board, perhaps Arians and Co. would be looking at proverbially going “all in” on a chance to upgrade an already potent offense at the skill positions.

Yet the other hurdle is the fact the Patriots still own Gronkowski’s rights, as he sits on the team’s reserve/retired list. This breakdown from NESN’s Doug Kyed detailed how a Gronk-to-Tampa Bay transaction would be possible, citing how New England on its own wouldn’t have the salary cap space to reinstate Gronkowski this year.

Instead, just like how the Seattle Seahawks moved their then-retired running back, Marshawn Lynch, to the Oakland Raiders in 2017, the Bucs could feasible reinstate Gronkowski after such a transaction was made.

Seattle and Oakland swapped day-three draft picks for Lynch, although Kyed argued the Pats could probably acquire more.

At the same time, the Buccaneers could argue in return how Gronkowski has been out of football for over a year, and he’d still cost a substantial chunk of change. From a financial standpoint, Tampa Bay would essentially be doing New England a favor by taking the contract off the Patriots’ hands.

Either way, Gronkowski reuniting with Brady in Tampa Bay sounds like a provocative and interesting proposal. But like many rumors, there’s a strong chance it’ll stay as such.