Two players who have retired this offseason should be first-ballot Hall of Famers.
Julius Peppers and Rob Gronkowski are likely to highlight the 2024 enshrinement class at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Players who last played in 2018 will be eligible for the first time in 2024.
Peppers retired with 159.5 sacks, fourth-most of all time, and every player with more than 135 sacks who is eligible for the Hall is in. There’s little doubt that Peppers will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Some may hold Gronk’s relatively short career — 115 games in nine seasons — against him, but there’s not a strong case against putting him in the Hall of Fame as well. At his peak, he was the best tight end ever to play the game, and his four first-team All-Pro selections and three Super Bowl rings easily outweigh any questions about his longevity.
Other players who have retired this offseason and could get some Hall of Fame consideration include Haloti Ngata, Jordy Nelson, Kyle Williams and Ben Watson. None of them is likely to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, though. Peppers and Gronk will highlight the class of 2024.