Rob Gronkowski, former New England Patriots superstar tight end, has been rumored to come out of retirement to play with Tom Brady once again.
A certain NFL insider, going by the name of “NFL Insider Leroy” — which is in fact PFT Commenter of Barstool Sports’ dog — tweeted out:
"Hearing a wild rumor that has serious legs. Rob Gronkowski is strongly considering returning to the NFL to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his old teammate Tom Brady. Has been training in Florida in addition to Wrestle-mania. Please credit Leroy woof woof"
This tweet sparked some interest, despite it coming from a canine.
Rob Gronkowski even went on Instagram live a few days ago and acknowledged NFL Insider Leroy’s tweet, and did not deny it — he didn’t confirm either, though.
The New England Patriots still own the rights to Gronkowski, so in order for this scenario to happen, they would have to trade or release his rights.
As much as the Patriots think they have the power in this scenario, they don’t. Gronkowski, if he came out of retirement, would be on the books for $9+ million of a cap hit, which the Patriots definitely can’t afford.
If Gronkowski wanted to come back, he most certainly could, and it likely wouldn’t be for the Patriots.
It would be difficult for New England to make-shift that much cap space, so they would likely trade his rights. I don’t see Belichick letting an asset like Rob Gronkowski leave town without getting something in return.
From the Patriots’ perspective, this isn’t a bad scenario to be in. Sure, they’re going to have to give up the rights to Gronkowski if he comes out of retirement, but they will get draft picks/players in return if they trade him — something they wouldn’t have gotten anyways if Gronkowski never un-retired.
So in essence, it is a win-win.
Prior to the 2018 season, there were talks that Bill Belichick wanted to trade the star tight end anyway. Word got out that Gronkowski said he would retire if traded, and, according to Ian Rapoport:
"“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.”"
The reason Gronkowski was even considered to be on the trading block in the first place back in 2018 was because of his lack of participation in offseason programs, as he chose to attend dirt biking events instead.
This is a major no-no for head coach Bill Belichick, but if Gronkowski were to be a Buccaneer, he would not have to worry about having strict leadership, as Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians is known for being much more lenient.
Now, it seems as if Rob Gronkowski is more than okay with being traded — if he comes out of retirement.
For now, Gronkowski remains a Patriot, and the last catch of his career remains a 29-yard reception to set up the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl 53 … not a bad way to leave things, either.