In a normal late-June week, news that the greatest tight end in NFL history has retired for a second time would be the biggest story of the week. But this isn’t a normal week. And, as a result, the retirement of Rob Gronkowski has gotten far less attention than maybe it could have or should have.
Gronk is out as a member of the Bucs, with a month or so to go until training camp. For the first time that I can remember, a player’s agent publicly called B.S. on his client. So if Drew Rosenhaus doesn’t believe Gronk when he says he’s retiring, why should anyone else?
Rosenhaus says he believes Gronk will be back, this season or next season. Our guess is that Gronk won’t be back at the outset of 2022 training camp in part (if not completely) because of the financial offers the Bucs have made.
For 2021, Gronk had base pay of $8 million with incentives of up to $2 million. For 2022, given the dramatic increase in the receiver market, Gronk shouldn’t show up for less than $15 million. If he decides to take less for a limited run, assuming the Bucs are contenders, so be it. But why should he sign up for a full season if he’s not getting what he’s truly worth?
Finally, it likely wasn’t a mistake that Rosenhaus added the words “next season.” If/when Tom Brady jumps to a new team and if, after a year off, Gronk becomes intrigued by the possibility of teaming up with Brady once again in an effort to win a championship with a third different team, maybe he’d do it.
Still, the money will need to be right. If it currently were, be’d be playing.