The New England Patriots have lost two of their best and most recognizable players in franchise history. Interestingly enough, both went to the same place.
The Patriots agreed to trade longtime tight end Rob Gronkowski, who recently came out of retirement, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a seventh-round draft pick in exchange for a fourth-round pick.
Gronkowski passed his physical exam with the team, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
This would see a reunion with his teammate, and close friend, Tom Brady, who left the Patriots organization for the Central Florida city after twenty seasons in New England. Gronkowski and Brady played together for nine of those seasons, from 2010 to Gronkowski’s first retirement in 2018.
The Patriots are coming off a 12-4 season in 2019 in which they lost in the Wild Card Playoff to the Tennessee Titans. Brady and the tight end popularly known as “Gronk” won three Super Bowls with the organization, in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 seasons. Gronkowski is a four-time first-team All-Pro player as well as a five-time Pro Bowler. He is also a member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and the 2010s All-Decade Team.
Although Gronkowski retired at the end of the 2018 season, he finished out the single year that was left on his contract, which will pay him $10 million this year. He had mentioned publicly that he had been considering re-entering the NFL and possibly playing again with Brady.
While great for Tampa Bay fans, who had to see their team miss the playoffs with a 7-9 record, this is shocking and quite a bummer for Patriots fans, who now have to see two of their most successful players of all time, and arguably two of the greatest of all time in their position, play together in a different uniform in a stadium and city over 1,000 miles away from their beloved Gillette Stadium in the Boston suburb of Foxborough, Massachusetts.
This could be another excellent move for the Bucs, who now see Gronkowski added to an offense (remember, led by none other than Tom Brady) that features Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at the wide receiver spots, Ronald Jones at running back, and O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate as the other tight end options.
The NFL season is sure going to be an interesting one. Hopefully the coronavirus pandemic has no effect on the season, and with the 2020 (virtual) NFL Draft coming up on Thursday, April 23, new additions to teams could see a fun campaign. And not to mention, of course, Gronk’s back!