Rob Gronkowski is now a Buccaneer, joining his quarterback Tom Brady. The question now is how long have the two had this plan for?
Earlier this week, it was announced that Rob Gronkowski was coming out of retirement to rejoin Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. But how long have they had this plan in the making?
Gronkowski was drafted by the Patriots in 2010 as part of an effort to reform New England’s offense after the team endured a Wild Card round loss in ugly fashion to the Baltimore Ravens.
Ever since Gronkowski came into the league, the Patriots had always had a top tier offense that many defensive coordinators stayed up at night thinking about. A huge reason for the Patriots’ offensive success over the past decade was Gronkowski.
In 2019, it was seen firsthand what a lack of Gronkowski did to the Patriots. Their offense was one that not many feared, Brady’s numbers suffered, and they could only muster up 13 points in a Wild Card game against Tennessee for their second straight home loss. Not very Patriot-like.
Now Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski won’t be Patriot-like at all. They are both teammates again, but now down in Tampa Bay under head coach Bruce Arians, who is known as being much less strict than their former coach, Bill Belichick.
Rumors about Gronkowski heading for Tampa Bay first surfaced two weeks ago, when PFTCommenter’s dog, Leroy, said he “heard whispers” of Gronkowski to the Bucs.
How long have the two had this plan in the making, however?
Brady signed with the Buccaneers on March 20th — just over a month ago. My guess is that’s when Brady started to push hard for Gronkowski to come join him. Brady noted on Howard Stern’s radio show that he knew he was going to leave New England prior to the 2019 season.
Knowing that, Brady most likely spoke to Gronkowski in the offseason prior to the 2019 season. Brady could’ve told Gronk a scenario in which Brady parts ways with New England at the end of the season and Rob joins him.
Right around that time was when Brady restructured his deal — which gave him a bonus and then made him a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.
Brady could’ve told Gronk to take the year off, get healthy, and then rejoin him in a year. There was no worry that Gronkowski’s rights were still held by New England, as his cap hit took all the leverage away from the Patriots.
Many were clamoring for Gronkowski to come out of retirement to help the 2019 Patriots, but Brady had said he wasn’t pushing Gronk to come back during the season. Gronkowski was not ready to come back in 2019, and if Brady pushed him, who knows if he would be up for coming back in 2020.
Gronkowski posted to Instagram thanking the New England Patriots, but also saying:
"“I said it from the beginning that I wouldn’t come back to the game unless I’m feeling it, feeling healthy, and feeling ready to play. Taking a year off was hands down the best decision I made, not just in my career, but also for my health and well being, and I would do that all over again. And now my fire is back. I am grateful for this new chapter of my career. I’m pumped to get down to Tampa, meet my new teammates, work hard, have a blast doing it, and give it my all this season!! I’m back and ready to lay a smack! #GoBucs!! ARRR!!!”"
Gronkowski and Brady had this move ready to go since he first retired after Super Bowl 53. Brady knew he could make a strong push to bring back Gronk and saved it for this moment. It’s not a bad situation for such a fun-loving guy like Gronkowski to have Brady throwing the ball to him and having a coach that won’t be coming down on him hard all the time either.
Let’s not forget that the Bucs also have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate to take the pressure off of him as well.