Hannable: Anything is possible for Rob Gronkowski right now -- even being traded

Ryan Hannable
April 23, 2018 - 11:04 pm

Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Rob Gronkowski’s actions this offseason have been very un-Patriot like.

It began with the tight end saying he needed to think about his future and wouldn’t commit to 2018 immediately following the Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles. Then came his social media posts that went against Bill Belichick and the culture he’s created. The most notable was when Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins and Gronkowski wrote within a good-bye post, “Be FREE, Be HAPPY.” There were also rumors he was considering retiring to join the WWE, and most recently was his bizarre press conference last Saturday where he mocked the Patriots’ offseason workout program and seemingly everyone who cares about it.

With most players, Belichick would have already shipped them out of town, but since Gronkowski is one of the best players in the NFL, he’s different. He is too important to the team. He’s also different because of his alliance with Tom Brady. Moving on from Gronkowski would risk upsetting Brady even more and potentially could impact his status, as well.

Clearly, with Gronkowski not attending the offseason workout program yet and saying last Saturday he doesn’t plan on doing so any time soon, something is going to need to change and it would seem everything is on the table.

From Gronkowski’s perspective, it would seem a new contract would get him back in the building and acting like a two-year captain again. Some have speculated that has been his main motivation for his actions all offseason. There’s no question he’s under-paid, but he did agree to the contract. There’s also no denying Gronkowski is injury-prone and the incentive structure he had last season was the best way to meet in the middle for both sides. Whether or not he would like to do that again remains to be seen, but it’s hard to imagine it's not on the table.

As much as Gronkowski would like a new deal, have his actions this offseason been the best way of going about it?

It’s also possible getting Alex Guerrero’s status with the team changed would have him change his stance. 

Gronkowski started working with him last season and clearly what he did worked, as it was his healthiest season in a long time, but Guerrero was reportedly banned from Gillette Stadium during the season because of conflicts with the Patriots’ training staff. In addition, it was reported a lot of Gronkowski’s frustrations last season involved the team not being on board with him working with Guerrero, and at one point Belichick apparently even shamed him in front of the whole team for working with him.

If a compromise with Guerrero and the team/Belichick can be reached, maybe that would change the All-Pro’s mind and get him back on board with the team.

Don’t forget about the NFL draft this week and how that could potentially change things as well.

What if the Patriots draft a tight end in the first round? Would that motivate Gronkowski to show up and prove he’s the best tight end in the league and will be for a long time, so the organization made a mistake drafting one? 

Certainly a possibility. 

There’s also another draft-related possibility which has a slim chance of happening, but given Belichick’s brazen past, it shouldn’t be completely discounted.

A trade. 

Maybe Belichick has finally had enough of Gronkowski and trades him away so he no longer has to deal with him. The draft may be the best time to do so. It raises the question of what would it take for Belichick to accept a trade? Given his injury history the return probably wouldn't be as high as many think it would be, but it seems like it would start with a first-round pick, but perhaps two second or third-rounders might get it done as well.

Would Belichick really trade away arguably the best tight end ever to play the game? Just look at his most recent past of not shying away from trading away some of his best players — Brandin Cooks, Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones, etc. While it would be the biggest trade he’s ever made, don’t put it past him.

For most players, putting on a display like Gronkowski did on Saturday would indicate a trade is wanted, but is that what Gronkowski really is looking for? We don’t believe so, but who really knows?

Gronkowski knows how important he is to the Patriots team, and the team knows how vital Gronkowski is to its success. It's hard to imagine Gronkowski ever holding out for an entire season, so it would appear at some point one of the sides will need to give in and something will need to change -- probably on the Patriots' end.

Exactly when or what remains to be seen, but the possibilities are truly endless.

Buckle up, Gronkowski’s situation is far from being over.

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