TE Rob Gronkowski is coming out of retirement to play football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
"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," the NFL insider tweeted.
Schefter followed up in a subsequent tweet, saying ESPN had been contacted by Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
"Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season. He will honor his current contract at this time," Rosenhaus said in a text.
Sports broadcaster Jay Glazer of Fox revealed on Twitter that Gronkowski has already passed his physical, indicating that the deal should be nearly finalized. He reported that the Patriots will receive the Buccaneers' fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Gronkowski's rights and a seventh-round pick.
Glazer further revealed that he'd heard from the player himself on the matter.
"As only @RobGronkowski can do just got voice message from him with simply and Gronkly said, 'I'm baaaaaackkkkkk!' He's stoked. All moved very quickly," Glazer tweeted.
Gronkowski had recently spoken on the matter, telling Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that he was happy, but "you never know."
"I'm feeling good right now. I'm happy where I'm at. You just never know, man. You just never know. You never know. I'm not totally done."Should the deal go through, Gronkowski will once again be hauling in passes from QB Tom Brady, who signed with the Buccaneers at the beginning of the NFL's free agency period in 2020. Brady had announced his departure from New England that morning, before reports that a deal had been made, in principal, surfaced.
Gronkowski played nine seasons for New England before hanging up his cleats. In his time with the Patriots, he was a four-time First-team All ProTogether, five-time Pro Bowl selection, and led the league in receiving touchdowns in 2011 with 17 — a total that has not been matched since. Together, he and Brady won three Super Bowls.
As Gronkowski was under contract when he retired, the Buccaneers will have to honor the existing deal he had in place with the Patriots. According to Spotrac, he has one year remaining on the six-year, $54 million contract extension he signed in 2012, tacked onto his initial four-year deal with New England. Tampa Bay will absorb the terms, paying him $9 million for a year of his services. The deal also includes a $750,000 roster bonus and a $250,000 workout bonus for a $10-million cap hit. He will become a free agent in 2021.