Well, here we are. The rumors are true. According to Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter, Rob Gronkowski wants to return to football and join his quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only that, but the two teams have been in talks to get the deal done, which we could see completed before the draft.
Sources: Retired #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has told New England that he’s interested in playing football again — and would want to do it with the #Bucs and QB Tom Brady. A trade would have to be worked out for this to happen.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2020
Patriots and Buccaneers have been discussing a trade for retired TE Rob Gronkowski, per league sources. Gronkowski has one year and $10 million left on his contract. But the two sides are, and have been talking, prior to Thursday’s draft.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2020
From our breaking news coverage on @nflnetwork: #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski wants to return to football, the #Bucs and New England have been discussing a trade, and this could happen within 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/wrLcQ2I75c— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2020
Gronk reuniting with Brady — wherever Brady ended — always felt like a real scenario behind the scenes. I can’t understate the appreciation, on and off the field, they have for each other. Gronk was done with the Patriots… but he never wanted to be done catching TDs from Brady.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) April 21, 2020
The best comparison we have for a trade like this involved the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders. The Seahawks traded the retired Marshawn Lynch to the Raiders and to get the deal done the two sides simply swapped picks - Oakland sending a fifth round pick in exchange for Lynch and Seattle’s sixth round pick.
Of course, a deal like this would also likely mean that O.J. Howard’s time in Tampa Bay would be over. After the Buccaneers were fielding calls on Howard last season and the restructuring o Cameron Brate’s deal this off-season, it seems as though Howard would become the odd man out and could get moved this weekend in order to recoup whatever draft capital the Bucs may lose in a deal for Gronk.
Definitely something to keep an eye in as we close in on the draft, but the Buccaneers are already all-in on Brady - looks like they want to get him his favorite target as well.
Per Adam Schefter, it looks like the deal is about to complete. Gronk and Brady will be reunited once again. This time, for the Bucs.
Trade, pending physical: Patriots are trading TE Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick, source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2020