The wheels were put in motion last week and what seemed like an inevitability has finally come to fruition. Retired former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is ending his one-year retirement and joining Tom Brady in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers.
According to Ian Rapoport, the Patriots and Buccaneers have reached an agreement that will send Gronkowski and a 7th-round pick in this year’s draft to Tampa in exchange for a fourth-round selection. The move re-unites two players, Brady and Gronkowski, who have won three Super Bowls together.
#Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has taken his physical already, sources say. So the trade should happen: Gronk and a 7th for a 4th rounder.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2020
The move all but guarantees that the Buccaneers will move on from O.J. Howard. It was reported last week that the Bucs were seeking a second-rounder for the three-year veteran but they will likely move him for a bit less. In three seasons with the Bucs, Howard caught 94 passes for 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns. In comparison, spread out over a 16 game season, Gronkowski has averaged 72 receptions, 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns a year.
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And that is the catch. WHEN Gronkowski is healthy he is as dominant of a tight end that has ever played. However, in his nine seasons with the Patriots, he played a full 16-game schedule just twice. The last time coming in 2011, his second year in the league. Back to the “when healthy part”.
When healthy, as stated before, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more dominant tight end in the league. In 115 games with the Patriots, Gronkowski amassed 521 catches, gained 7,861 yards, and scored 79 touchdowns. He and Brady created one of the best quarterback/receiver connections in NFL history. Gronkowski also happens to be one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.