Roughly 13 months ago, tight end Rob Gronkowski decided he was done playing football for the New England Patriots. It turns out he wasn’t quite finished catching touchdown passes from Tom Brady.
Tuesday, the Patriots and Buccaneers agreed to the terms of a trade that sends Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Should Gronk pass a physical, he’ll be reunited with his former quarterback and hand Brady another weapon on a dangerous offense.
The future Hall of Fame tight end had one year, $9 million left on his deal with New England.
In a text message to Fox Sports, Gronkowski said, “I’m back. I always said when I have that feeling and it feels right, I will be ready to take the field again. And I have that feeling. I’m ready.”
After nine seasons and three Super Bowl victories in New England, the five-time Pro Bowler retired in March of last year. Once Brady made the move away from the Pats, Gronkowski’s return was in play.
“Shortly after Tom Brady went to Tampa, Rob and I had a conversation that this is a situation that would be appealing to him,” said Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent. “Playing with Tom Brady is obviously huge.”
Gronkowski now joins an arsenal of weapons in Tampa Bay.
Brady’s Wealth of Weapons
From the outside looking in, one of the more frustrating aspects of Brady’s tenure in New England appeared to be the lack of weapons the team surrounded him with. That’s certainly not a problem in Tampa Bay.
For starters, Brady will be throwing to a pair of Pro Bowl receivers.
In 2019, Chris Godwin led the Bucs with 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. Godwin also racked up 25 plays of 20 yards or more.
Mike Evans trailed close behind Godwin with 67 catches for 1,157 yards, eight touchdowns, and 17 plays of 20 yards or more.
Now, head coach Bruce Arians can include one of Brady’s all-time favorite weapons into his vertical passing game. In his final season with the Pats, Gronkowski had 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns alongside eight plays of 20 yards or more.
Brady and the Bucs hope Gronkowski will be reinvigorated, both mentally and physically, after taking a year away from the game. The tight end suffered through several injuries during his career, so a season of recovery could help the 31-year-old push back the hands of time.
Even a limited Gronkowski will gave Brady another big red zone threat alongside Evans.
Bucs’ Odds Spike In Wake of Gronk Deal
In a sport full of young superstars, like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, 42-year-old Brady is aiming to lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl. The addition of Gronkowski appears to help in that endeavor, as Tampa Bay’s odds of winning a title received a small but significant spike once the trade with New England was announced.
Many sportsbooks previously placed the Bucs’ odds alongside the Cowboys at +1700. Upon acquiring the rights to Gronkowski, Tampa Bay is now the fifth favorite to win the Super Bowl after their odds surged to +1500 at FanDuel Sportsbook, and as high as +1400 in other books.
Tampa Bay still trails Kansas City (+650), Baltimore (+700), San Francisco (+900) and New Orleans (+1200).