How will the Patriots replace Gronk?

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The retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski, though not unexpected, nevertheless carries a suddenness and finality that creates real questions for the Patriots regarding a position that has become an important part of the offense. So where will the Patriots go from here?

They have four general options: Sign a free agent, trade for a tight end, turn to the draft, or rely on players currently on the roster. They can also mix and match options, and that’s presumably what they’ll do.

As previously noted, their interest in Jared Cook could be rekindled unless and until he finally signs his name at the bottom of a contract with the Saints. Regarding the draft, they could try to move up in round one to get one of the top prospects, take the best tight end available at No. 32, or pounce on a guy in the later rounds who slips through the cracks but also fits precisely with what they’re trying to do.

A trade is less likely, but who knows when it comes to the Patriots? Coach Bill Belichick always has a plan and his success has vindicated all past plans and it’s likely that whatever he does eventually will be successful because everything else he ever has done seems to work out.

Besides, the Patriots can’t claim they weren’t ready for this. They knew it was coming sooner than later, and they knew it could happen this year. It’s now happened, and we’ll learn what the team’s plan is as it unfolds.

24 responses to “How will the Patriots replace Gronk?

  1. They won’t.

    Brady is old, anyway. A long overdue rebuild has finally arrived for this team.

  2. He’ll be a big loss but they’ve won titles without him and Parity rules always hit them more than other teams (and past dynasties never had to deal with parity rules). Just last year they saw Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler, Amendola, Brandin Cooks and Dion Lewis etc go (and Marty Bennett retire), and after everyone decided Belichick really was a terrible GM, they won yet another SB.

  3. The Patriots will replace Gronk the same way they replace everyone else. Next man up and keep on winning.

  4. Not like they’ve never played or won without him. I can’t be the only person who’s noticed that when they sign some high profile guy that makes their season run easier, they wind up losing the Super Bowl. When it’s just a bunch of dudes out there playing, they come out on top. I have a feeling that they’ll be alright.

  5. Most disruptive force in the NFL when Beleicek would let him. Greatest TE of all time and I have seen Ditka, Mackey, Winslow, Sharpe and Gonzalez all in their prime

  6. Belichick and McDaniels may design an offense that eschews the tight end but I think they will probably move in the direction of a blocking or all around tight end to support the run game. It’s going to be fun to see what the Patriots do; it’ll be something outsiders will not expect. Jacob Hollister, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse are currently on the team; @28 free agent tight ends are available (not sure about Jake Fisher who apparently has signed with Buffalo). Keep an eye on Kaden Smith (Stanford), Thomas Sweeney(BC) and Zack Gentry (Michigan) in the draft if the Patriots do not take Smith or move up for one of the Iowa TEs. It’s going to be an interesting spring.

  7. The Patriots are pretty badly in need of offensive weapons. It’s hard to imagine they can fix the problem solely with the draft. Right now, they have a solid running game with some versatile receiving backs, a dominant slot receiver in Julian Edelman … and not much of anything else unless you think highly of Dorsett, which I don’t (and judging from the contract Dorsett accepted, neither does anyone else). Even before Gronk retired, they needed a legitimate outside receiver.

  8. BB always stresses the value of TE position- not in terms of a particular player or person- but as it’s “formationing” value to the team. The more the TE is a threat to either run/block, the more QB can move him around to read coverages pre-snap. Key to BB’s repetitions here though are that formationing can be done by any of eligible receivers. As long as said receiver is big and strong enough to be credible blocker, and skilled enough to be reliable pass catcher… I’d assume he’d then pick from best value per $ of these options. In general BB is not afraid of using two formationing type role players to replace one all-world player like gronk.

    So I see some or all of following :

    * BB will see if holister can improve at blocking to become every down
    * and/or BB believes sony michel can improve at pass-catching
    * and/or he’ll draft or trade for 3-down TE in draft
    * and/or he’ll draft or trade for another pass-catching/blocking RB/FB, to use them as a lower-cost “formationing” piece vs tight-ends
    * and/or he’ll draft/trade for other cheap matchup-problem players (think cordelle patternson, not an everydown challenge but matchup issue none the less)
    * and/or he’ll draft high-talent players w/injury concerns that fall (same as gronk was).

    Now that big FA period is over, I discount anything big being done w/FA tight-ends before draft, as it wouldn’t be from a position of strength.

    I enjoy learning from BB in these situations though, when he zigs when everybody else would zag… it’s usually less of a zag than a freshing take on foundational concept.

  9. They arent going to replace him they will just adjust the offense to the players they go with a TE. They arent going to draft someone or have LaCosse go do what Gronk would do. They will run plays that suit the TE they roll with and if they are better blockers than pass catchers they will have them block and lean on Michel and White.

  10. One of the all time greats will be hard to replace.THE ONLY TEAM I SEEN PUT fear in gronk was THE RAVENS

  11. I have a feeling they will trade the Bucs for Cameron Brate. Belichick has poached from the Bucs before at this time of year. Brate is clutch, I wouldn’t wanna see him go but it’s possible.

  12. what are the odds Gronk is playing in December? 7 months off the grind and he’s only 29.

    This may be wishful thinking but I put it at over 50%

  13. bbb82 says:
    March 25, 2019 at 8:05 am
    He had less than 700 yards and 3 TDs last year. NE can replace that easily.
    He was easily like having a 6th offensive on the field, just as good as blocking as he was at receiving. Even without catching a ball he was a distraction to defenses just by showing up.

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