Posted on June 19, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When the rumors first surfaced that the New England Patriots were thinking about trading away their stud tight end, Rob Gronkowski, every fan’s first inclination was probably “yeah, right.” When Robert Kraft called the rumors “hogwash”, we were inclined to believe him. It would be foolish to trade away one of the best offensive weapons in the game today.
The Patriots may be the Evil Empire, but they aren’t the Stupid Empire. As it turns out, they might be the Slightly Dishonest Empire.
According to recent reports, it sounds like the Patriots had conversations about potential trades involving Gronkowski with four teams—the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions, and San Francisco 49ers.
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Boston-based freelance reporter Adam Kurkjian broke the news about possible talks with the Titans and 49ers. What made his rumor even juicier was that Tom Brady supposedly threatened to retire if the Patriots dealt Gronk. Patriots vice president of media relations Stacey James denied the reports, but Kurkjian stuck to his guns and claimed he confirmed the rumor:
“…. I took it [my information] to one more person [after James]. This person has as much access into the information as Stacey, and you’re just going to have to trust me on that. … This person confirmed everything.”
The rumors concerning the Texans and Lions came on Monday courtesy of Albert Breer on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd:”
“I don’t think they were shopping Gronk to the entire league, but there were some teams they trust that I know they talked to. Detroit, Tennessee, Houston, San Francisco — you guys can make the connections there,” Breer said.
Belichick seems to prefer to trade with guys he used to work with in the past. Each of the four teams mentioned has ties back to New England. But trade Gronk? Well—he’s made it clear that he has not been happy about his contract for some time.
Then there was that odd supercross press conference where he expressed no interest in making optional team workouts because he was “training for this dirt-biking.”
Rumor was that the Patriots might have been trying to put together a package that would allow them to trade up and take Baker Mayfield. Coming from the end of round one (No. 31), it would have taken a lot for them to get high enough. But maybe they were feeling some unknown retirement pressure from Tom Brady.
It didn’t happen, so we’ll never know.
According to the rumor mill, Belichick did want a trade and had a deal on the table from someone. But then Brady threatened to retire, and Kraft decided to just say no to dealing Gronk. But then he made an interesting move and tried to act like the Patriots were victims.
We can believe that there was never an actual deal on the table from anyone that was seriously being considered. But talks occurred which means the team was thinking about trading him. Had they gotten an offer they couldn’t refuse, they probably would have.
People were not ‘looking for things’ as Kraft said. They were just trying to figure out where the breadcrumbs led.