It’s indeed “hogwash” that the Patriots had a trade for tight end Rob Gronkowski on the table, that they were ready to proceed, that quarterback Tom Brady threatened to retire, and that owner Robert Kraft vetoed the deal. That doesn’t mean the Patriots didn’t explore the possibility of doing a deal.
Per a league source, the Patriots were calling other teams about a possible Gronkowski trade as recently as three days before the draft. Coincidentally (or not), Gronkowski ended nearly three months of uncertainty regarding his future by declaring publicly that he would play in 2018 only two days before the draft.
It’s not known what the Patriots wanted, or whether a deal was actually close. If it was, it never got to the point where Brady made a power play and Kraft made a boss move, literally.
Some think that the Patriots were hoping to add the assets needed to make a move for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who didn’t emerge as a serious candidate for the No. 1 overall pick until the week of the draft. It likely would have taken much more than the Patriots would have or could have surrendered to get all the way to top of the draft order.