Rob Gronkowski Returning to NFL to Play With Tom Brady

The retired tight end is headed to Tampa Bay to be a Buccaneer

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on the field in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on the field in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)

The greatest tight end the Patriots have ever had is following Tom Brady out of New England to Tampa Bay to be a Buccaneer.

After reports from The Boston HeraldESPN, and the NFL Network began circulating on Tuesday afternoon that Rob Gronkowski told the Patriots he wanted to be traded to Tampa Bay to reunite with Brady, Jay Glazer reported the deal was all-but done.

Glazer worked with Gronkowski at FOX and would theoretically be in a pretty good position to get intel from the 30-year-old athlete. Reporting for ESPN, Adam Schefter said the Patriots will be getting a fourth-round pick in exchange for Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick. He also offered some further details and confirmation about the deal from agent Drew Rosenhaus.

The fourth-rounder will be either the 117th or 139th overall pick, giving the Patriots 13 selections in the upcoming draft, second-most in the league.

Once the deal is officially completed, Tampa Bay will reinstate Gronkowski, and his $10 million base salary will immediately count against Tampa’s cap sheet. Gronkowski’s contract has one year remaining on it.

Gronkowski has left the door open to a return to the NFL several times since retiring, most recently during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Monday. “I’m feeling good right now,” Gronkowski said when asked about coming out of retirement. “I’m happy where I’m at, and you just never know man. You just never know. You never know. I’m not totally done. I like to stay in shape.”

Related: Rob Gronkowski: Football Was Taking the Joy Out of My Life

Bill Belichick tried to trade Gronkowski in the past, but had a trade ahead of the 2018 draft that would have sent him to the Detroit Lions for a draft pick fall through because Gronk threatened to retire. 

The reason for the retirement threat was Gronkowski wasn’t willing to play with another quarterback.

“[Tom] Brady’s my quarterback. That’s all,” Gronkowski said months later. “Wasn’t going anywhere without Brady.”

After being drafted by New England in 2010, Gronkowski won a trio of Super Bowls with Brady and the Patriots. 

In Tampa Bay, he’ll join a talented tight end group that already includes OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.

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