The New England Patriots sooner or later will face a future without Tom Brady. When that will take place remains to be seen but there’s a slight chance, they could move on from Rob Gronkowski. At the end of an emotional season, Gronkowski mentioned that he may retire. After a tough Super Bowl loss, a thought like that may go through plenty of players’ minds. Gronk has been the subject of a few rumors circulating over the past two weeks, but the truth is, the Patriots may still need help at the TE position. According to Sean Tomlinson of Bleacher Report, the Patriots should make a move for Julius Thomas.
While Gronk is still one of the best in the NFL, he’s not getting any younger and has to deal with injuries that have forced him to miss 26 games over his eight-year career. Just last season, Gronk suffered a concussion that almost forced him out of the Super Bowl. In 2016, he only played in eight games, and this is why the Patriots had to sign Martellus Bennett.
It’s not that Gronk is injury-prone like Robert Griffin, but he’s a vital part of the Patriots offense and when he goes down, the Pats are not the same. Last season, Tom Brady was able to adjust due to the weapons at his disposal with the addition of Brandin Cooks, Bennett, and Dion Lewis. But with Lewis, Bennett, and Cooks gone, the Pats will need to find a suitable backup. Enter Thomas.
Thomas came to fame while with the Denver Broncos where he caught 24 touchdowns in two seasons. But after his second straight Pro Bowl campaign, he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars and never regained the form he had with Peyton Manning. During his two years in Jacksonville, Thomas caught 76 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns.
In March of 2017, Thomas was traded to the Miami Dolphins where he was expected to be a missing piece for Ryan Tannehill. However, Tannehill went down with a season-ending injury and Thomas was left to rely on Jay Cutler. Needless to say, Thomas’ numbers suffered as a result. Now, after being released by the Dolphins, Thomas is free and the Pats may be his best choice and vice versa.
Since Bill Belichick loves to take gambles on players, Thomas would fit in nicely with the Pats. Even with Gronkowski healthy, the Patriots can throw a two-TE set at opposing defenses. Thomas is 6’4 and weighs 250 lbs and can still reach the soft spot of the field with the best of them. Better yet, his pass catching ability can help keep the body of Gronk fresh during the season as the Patriots gear up for another long playoff run.
A Thomas signing won’t equal a replacement for Gronk but it could be done just as a precaution.