It would be perhaps the biggest surprise of free agency if Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski ended up with another team when the dust settles, but the veteran tight end recently said in an interview with NFL Network and The Ringer’s Kyle Brandt that he will “dip [his] toes” in the free agency waters as a newbie to the process.

“It’s pretty rare to see someone to ever even finish a contract in the NFL, so that was pretty special there,” Gronkowski said. “But I’ve never been a free agent before, but I’m planning on being a free agent after every season. I feel like I’m a one-year deal guy for the rest of my career — even if I play 10 more years. I’m going to be a one-year deal guy, a free agent every year, and just control my destiny every year.”

That’s some breaking news from Gronkowski, who seems to be suggesting that the Bucs signing him to a two-year contract that would match the length of Tom Brady’s current deal is out of the question. It has long been assumed that Gronkowski would like to stay in Tampa Bay for multiple reasons, including the pursuit of another championship, his close friendship with Brady and the close proximity to his mother, who lives two hours away in Fort Myers.

“I definitely want to be back with the Buccaneers. That’s where my eyesight is. That’s where I’m leaning toward, big time,” Gronkowski said. “But with the free agency process, you just never know what may happen. There’s some other teams interested out there, too. I’ve also never been a part of the free agency process, so I actually want to dip my toes in, just to see what’s out there.”

Gronkowski has said several times over the past few months that he expects to be back in Tampa Bay, and new contracts for LB Lavonte David and OLB Shaq Barrett have come with low 2021 cap hits to ensure that players like Gronkowski, DT Ndamukong Suh, K Ryan Succop and WR Antonio Brown could also return to the team this season. Time will tell if Gronkowski finds an offer on the open market more appealing than returning to Tampa Bay, or if his words are more posturing for leverage in negotiations.

If Gronkowski is truly available, teams would be wise to throw money at him. He’s a good run blocker, one of the best pass protecting tight ends in the NFL and still a big-time threat down the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Gronkowski had the most deep targets (20+ air yards) amongst all NFL tight ends with 16, and the most deep catches with eight. For the season, Gronkowski caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns, adding two more touchdown receptions in the Super Bowl.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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gcolerick
4 months ago

Sounds like Gronk might be looking for some leverage.

Mike Pengelly
4 months ago

No, no, say it isn’t so !! With the big deals we have signed already, and Suh and Succop yet to do + the draft to account for, we probably don’t have a bundle of money to pay Rob what they say he’s worth. And sure as shootin’, someone will pony up big bucks for the big guy !

SappAttack
4 months ago

Nothing to see here.

Ron Potter
4 months ago

Not a surprise to hear these words from Gronk or any other of the remaining FAs we want to resign. With that said, it’s still a safe bet he resigns. The posturing in Gronk’s words might be setting the stage more for his NEXT contract than THIS year’s. He contextualized his words like a very good businessman but made it clear that this year he still want to be here the most.

Eddie
Reply to  Ron Potter
4 months ago

Reading a script prepared by his agent who is also looking for a payday from Gronk.

Ron Potter
Reply to  Eddie
4 months ago

Not exactly in this case. I’m feeling confident that the agents involved with our core free agents this year were pretty much unnecessary. Gronk’s a pretty smart dude. Brady, Barrett, Godwin, LVD… all very smart dudes. And the Bucs organization treats players fairly here for the most part… under Licht’s leadership. I dunno… I’d say we’re pretty lucky as a fanbase as this whole team and organization have a lot of integrity from players to coaches to management. And since my post didn’t even last a day into the legal tampering period, I’d say I was pretty on point that… Read more »

Gatordoc1
4 months ago

Pay the man

drdneast
4 months ago

This is called leveraging your situation.

obuc
4 months ago

I’m guessing he really doesnt want to be a free agent every year but he wants to get locked up with some guaranteed money. He is 31. I’m thinking he might want a 2 year deal but a ghost 3rd year that he would never see for cap purposes and guaranteed money. He would actually be a safe bet for that kind of deal and if they did that, it might be easier for them to release one of the other TE

Lawdy
4 months ago

so hard to imagine anyone else throwing touchdown passes to him

Spitfire
4 months ago

He at the Beverly least wants to show he’s not just gonna sign on the cheap. Hopefully he can sign for still a decent price but we will see. If he goes the main thing would be finding a good blocking TE as Howard and Brate can catch and have fresher legs.

Mike Pengelly
4 months ago

Brate and Howard are a pretty good tandem if Gronk decides to go for the big(ger) bucks. Didn’t realize he signed an 8 yr deal with the Pats and played it out!! His big chance to cash in.

Mike Pengelly
4 months ago

Tell Tom to go over to Gronk’s house and have a talk!! Maybe take Godwin and Evans with him.

Eddie
Reply to  Mike Pengelly
4 months ago

Good one!

Mike Pengelly
4 months ago

If he stays, a 5th SB ring would certainly cinch his Hall of Fame quest !

Eddie
4 months ago

During last season, I remember reading thought NFL analyst ( can’t remember who) thought Gronk was not the same player he once was, he leg is gone and can’t run any more. Only good as a blocker. Now “Gronkowski had the most deep targets (20+ air yards) amongst all NFL tight ends with 16, and the most deep catches with eight.”

toofamiliar17
4 months ago

Man, talk about a quick dip. I doubt he even needed a rag to dry off.