The MMQB’s Albert Breer wrote in an article last week mentioning the idea it “couldn’t hurt” for teams to check in on the Patriots’ relationship with Rob Gronkowski.
On Monday afternoon, he mentioned the article again, this time adding he actually expects the Patriots to get trade calls from a couple of teams:
Last week, we mentioned this in the GamePlan (https://t.co/3cCCQbHsEU), and I'd repeat it -- my expectation is the Patriots will be getting trade calls on TE Rob Gronkowski. In fact, a couple teams told me in Orlando that they were planning on making them.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 2, 2018
This probably isn’t something you need to worry about, though, especially after the Patriots traded No. 1 wide receiver Brandin Cooks:
New England trading Brandin Cooks to LA means that the Patriots will not be trading Rob Gronkowski this off-season, as some have speculated. Pats will rely on Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, amongst others.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 3, 2018
Sure, any player is “available” for the right price, especially in the NFL, and Gronkowski is on the books for a $10.9 million cap hit in 2018. But he’s also just two short months removed from uncertainty about returning for next season — that would likely limit what teams are willing to actually put on the table.
“I don’t know how you heard that, but I mean I’m definitely going to look at my future for sure,” Gronkowski said after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles. “I’m going to sit down the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at.”
Gronkowski had nine receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the game on 15 targets.
Bill Belichick commented on Gronkowski in a conference call via WEEI, saying “At the end of every season, every person goes through somewhat of a process at the end of the season and then the following season. I think everyone that is involved in a NFL season, you get pretty drained especially after a season like this. [You] go through the end of the year process. The following year is the following year.
“It’s the same for everybody. I certainly can’t speak for anybody else. You’d have to ask any individual for every situation, but I would say five minutes after the game, or the day after the game is not really the time to make those decisions.”
Gronkowski spent two weeks in concussion protocol leading up to the game. He’s got an extensive injury history, that includes a fractured vertebra. But when he’s healthy, he’s one of the most lethal pass catching weapons in the NFL.
In the case that he’s healthy, and a team feels they don’t have to worry about his playing future, Pats Pulpit reminds us the Patriots haven’t been afraid to take less than market value on players in the past:
Not to pile it on, but we’ve also seen Belichick take what a lot of people think of as less than market value for players he knew he was going to either trade or lose anyway, like in the Jamie Collins, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Logan Mankins deals. Depending on what his position with Gronkowski is — and let’s be clear, aside from a couple reports of “friction”, we don’t know — this could set up a seller’s market for Belichick, or if Gronkowski really is on the fence, it could be the opposite where it turns into a “get what you can” type negotiation.
With Tom Brady turning 41 this year, the Patriots might be less inclined to trade away their best weapon. But it would be irresponsible to entirely rule out anything. The Patriots aren’t the ones initiating trade offers, just “two teams” that have yet to do so.
Now, if this were a Giants-Odell Beckham Jr. situation, we might be having a different conversation. But it doesn’t appear to be at that point. If you’re a Patriots fan, you should feel comfortable with having Gronkowski on your team in 2018.