It’s been nearly two months since Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski declined to commit to another season of football. Could the Patriots be inclined to make the decision for him?
Via TheBigLead.com, Boston Sports Journal has crafted an intriguing bit of (mostly) speculation regarding the possibility of the Patriots trading Gronkowski. Citing a “Bill Belichick-friendly source” (that’s the first time “Belichick” and “friendly” ever have been used in the same breath), Greg Bedard suggests that, when circumstances force the Patriots head coach to contemplate life without a given player, the Patriots head coach begins to warm up to the idea of not having the player.
Bedard identifies the Rams and 49ers as potential destinations. The compensation for Gronkowski, who has two years left on his current contract and may have only one year of football left in his career, isn’t clear. Let’s assume that the Patriots could get a first-round pick for Gronk.
If that’s the case, there’s no reason for the Patriots to finalize the deal now. Whether it’s the Rams at No. 23, the 49ers at No. 9, or anyone else, the goal would be to acquire the pick not four weeks in advance of the draft but when the pick is on the clock. This would prevent the Patriots from being leapfrogged by a team that successfully guesses its intentions for the pick.
But can the Patriots manage to keep the trade quiet that long? Absolutely. The Patriots routinely insist on secrecy from teams and agents as to all transactions; four weeks ago, agent Drew Rosenhaus wouldn’t comment on whether the Patriots had simply asked Gronkowski about his plan for 2018.
His plan for 2018 may be to play for another team. And it’s possible that Gronkowski has feigned interest in retirement in the hopes of getting the Patriots to decide on their own to get what they can for a guy whose career may be pulling into the station.