- Patriots trade TE Rob Gronkowski, 2020 seventh-round pick to Bucs for fourth-round pick
- Gronk retired after 9 years with the Patriots prior to last season
- Tampa Bay is listed at +1300 to win Super Bowl 55, which are the fifth-best odds of any team
In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the New England Patriots traded former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronkowski was still under contract with the Patriots for the 2020 season despite having retired prior to last season, which means the Bucs had to trade for Gronk rather than signing him as a free agent.
Gronkowski will make $10 million in 2020. He will obviously be reunited in Tampa with Tom Brady, who left the Patriots to sign with the Buccaneers as a free agent last month. The Bucs are sending a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft to New England, who is also sending a seventh-rounder along with Gronkowski back to Tampa Bay.
Trade, pending physical: Patriots are trading TE Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick, source tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2020
Gronk surprisingly announced his retirement in March of last year after a 9-year career. He won 3 Super Bowl titles over the course of his Patriots tenure, and he is one of the most productive pass-catching tight ends in the history of the league.
However, he retired at the age of 30 because of the physical wear-and-tear that comes with playing professional football and a number of injuries in recent years. The Arizona product hasn’t played all 16 games in a season since 2011, his second year as a pro. He played 8 games in 2016, 14 games in 2017 and 13 games in 2018 before temporarily hanging up the cleats.
Schefter noted that the Patriots had agreed to trade Gronkowski to the Detroit Lions on the day before the 2017 draft, but the move was nixed when Gronk threatened to retire as an alternative to playing with a quarterback other than Brady. Gronkowski would have been reunited in Detroit with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is now the Lions’ head coach.
Gronk Reunited With Brady
Instead, the 31-year-old Gronkowski has decided to end his retirement after a season in order to reunite with Brady in Florida. The former second-round pick has scored at least 10 receiving touchdowns in 5 different seasons, which is the most in NFL history for a tight end. He has also topped 1,000 yards receiving 4 times, with the most recent such season coming in 2017.
Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that Gronkowski still has to pass a physical in order for the trade to go through.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 21, 2020
Gronkowski will join a high-octane passing attack that also features Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. One would imagine the Buccaneers will roll out plenty of 2-tight end sets featuring Gronkowski and OJ Howard, which is a similar style of offense the Patriots ran with Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez forming a potent tandem several years ago.
The trade could also tempt the Bucs into finding a suitor for either Howard or Cameron Brate, who is also still on the roster. Brate has proven to be a productive No. 2 tight end for the Bucs in recent years, and keeping all 3 on the roster doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If Tampa Bay floats Howard or Brate in trade talks, they could potentially recoup an additional asset ahead of Thursday’s draft.
Revamped Bucs Among Super Bowl Favorites
The Buccaneers had seen their odds to win Super Bowl 55 next season improve dramatically after signing Brady. Tampa Bay had opened around +5000 to win next year’s title before inking Brady to a deal. Before adding Gronkowski, the Bucs were sitting at +1300 to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl next season at Bovada. The only teams with more favorable odds as of now are the Kansas City Chiefs (+550), Baltimore Ravens (+600), San Francisco 49ers (+850) and New Orleans Saints (+1000).
After Tuesday’s trade, Bovada has bumped the Bucs up to +1100 to win next year’s NFL championship.