In a bombshell announcement just two days before the 2020 NFL Draft, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting on Twitter that retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has told the team he wants to return to football, but to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with former teammate Tom Brady.
Sources: Retired #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has told New England that he’s interested in playing football again — and would want to do it with the #Bucs and QB Tom Brady. A trade would have to be worked out for this to happen.
Gronkowski, who will turn 31 on May 14, announced his retirement just over a year ago, mainly to focus on his health after a plethora of injuries had limited his effectiveness during the 2018 season. A 4-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl future Hall of Famer, Gronkowski’s rights still belong to New England, who would need to work out a trade to send the 3-time Super Bowl champion to Tampa Bay.
According to Rapoport, this isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision from Gronkowski, who has been preparing for a return to the game for awhile now. And it’s no surprise Rapoport adds that his former quarterback would love to see him in pewter too.
#Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has, in fact, begin putting on weight for a return to football, sources say. He’s ready. He wants to return. And Tom Brady wants him back for the #Bucs, too.
Acquiring Gronkowski would be a somewhat complicated move that would likely include a contract restructure for the big tight end, as he has one year left on his current deal with a $10 million cap hit.
A trade could also be the end of O.J. Howard’s time in Tampa Bay. If the Bucs are serious about trading for Gronk, that would seem to suggest Howard’s cap hit, albeit minimal, and presence on the roster may not be required. He also could be a decently valuable asset in a trade, either to acquire Gronk or in another draft day move.
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
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.