Will Rob Gronkowski retire this offseason? The New England Patriots are confident the answer to that question is “no,” according to a report Wednesday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Citing conversations with sources close to the star tight end, Rapoport reported the Patriots are “tentatively” operating under the impression that Gronkowski will play in 2019.
“Here is my understanding,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Agent Drew Rosenhaus has said there’s been no decision that Rob Gronkowski has made. He’s talked to him recently. He has not made a firm decision on whether or not he wants to come back.
“My understanding is, when you talk to people close to (Gronkowski), they think there’s a better chance that he comes back again than he doesn’t. And I do believe that the Patriots are at least tentatively planning as if they will have Gronk for the 2019 season. Obviously, a big question still needs to be answered, but that is the way it’s trending.”
Regardless of Gronkowski’s decision, the Patriots still need to bolster their tight end group through either free agency or the draft. Rapoport reported New England has been “in the tight end market a little bit” since the NFL’s legal tampering period began Monday.
After releasing Dwayne Allen last week, the Patriots currently have just two tight ends under contract who caught a pass last season: Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister, who hauled in just four receptions in eight games before landing on injured reserve in December.
Rounding out New England’s depth chart are Stephen Anderson, who spent the entire regular season on the Patriots’ practice squad, and Ryan Izzo, a 2018 seventh-round draft pick who missed his entire rookie year.