The New England Patriots may be looking to trade away one of the best tight ends in the NFL. According to Carson Coudriet of 12UP, there’s a chance that Bill Belichick may move Rob Gronkowski. But why has been the common question since the news dropped?
Despite his Hall of Fame track record, Gronkowski uttered the word retirement after the Patriots Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. While it could be perceived as just dealing with heartbreak, Belichick has not been one to hold on to veterans long. His one holdover is Tom Brady but that’s understandable.
Gronkowski still has two years and almost $23 million left on his current deal and while he’s not as old as Brady, at 28 Gronk has miles on his body. Gronkowski has been an injury concern for the Patriots since coming into the league. In his eight years, Gronk has only played one full season (2011). With Belichick always looking for the next guy up, Gronkowski may be his next victim.
But where could he go?
According to Coudriet, the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and Pittsburgh Steelers could be top destinations. However, there’s no news on who or what the Patriots will ask for in return. If the Giants are seeking two first-rounders for Odell Beckham, just imagine what the going rate for Gronk is.
Even so, adding Gronk to the Steelers will give them a dynamic offense led by Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. Last season, the position was held down by Jessee James and Vance McDonald. If Gronk were to take over, he will give Big Ben a huge target in the middle of the field to help take the pressure off Brown and open better lanes for Bell.
Another team mentioned was Houston. With Deshaun Watson expected back healthy to start the 2018 season, giving him a target like Gronk would be a wise choice. The Texans’ passing game has been mainly highlighted by DeAndre Hopkins. However, last season, William Fuller proved that he can carry the load as a second option. The Texans’ TE’s could use a boost and Gronk could provide Watson with another security blanket to keep defenses honest.
Trading Gronkowski may seem a bit of a reach but this is Belichick. No one thought he would get rid of Wes Welker, Malcolm Butler or Randy Moss. But this is how the Patriots have kept winning over the years. While teams hold on to aging or declining players, the Patriots know exactly when to cut them loose.