NESN Diary: Patriots-Bucs Trade For Rob Gronkowski Benefitted All Involved (And Other Random Thoughts)


The New England Patriots won.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won.

Rob Gronkowski won.

Tom Brady won.

Bill Belichick won.

There’s been plenty of winning over the last two decades for the Patriots organization, and players both past and present benefitted from that again Tuesday.

Truth is, the Patriots traded Gronkowski, last seen as a WWE wrestler who was content with never wearing their uniform again, for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. New England got an asset for something that was practically locked away in a basement one year ago with no intentions on coming out again.

And the Patriots had zero leverage. The 31-year-old Gronkowski, as told by many accounts, was not going to play anywhere else. It was quite literally TB with TB12, or nothing. If the Patriots traded him elsewhere, Gronk would not report and all parties involved would be back at square one. After all, remember how he himself prohibited a trade to the Detroit Lions?

On a pretty cut-and-dry financial note, Gronkowski would have had a $10 million cap hit if he played on Route One this year. The Patriots currently have about $1 million in cap space, so you don’t need to be a mathematician to realize those numbers don’t add up.

Instead, the Pats did what they had to do. They traded something of no use to them, for something that certainly could prove useful. And they got a pretty respectable return.

Of course, however, some will say otherwise. Actually, before we get to that, a quick question. Weren’t there many fans who criticized Gronk during his final year with the Patriots in 2018? Admittedly, that was probably before he made among the biggest catches of his career on a Super Bowl-winning drive as the Pats claimed title No. 6. The catch down the seam in triple coverage, remember?

Well, if I remember correctly, prior to that, there were complaints of Gronkowski being “a shell of his old self” while some said he “lost a step.” If that was the case, (I always thought Gronk’s change in role was impressive), then what did you expect the Patriots to get back two years later? I guess I’m questioning because I just hope those who criticized him for his play in 2018 aren’t the same people who are angry about the Patriots’ return for him in 2020. I mean, what did you expect?

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate parts of all this for Patriots fans, however, is the fact that Gronkowski didn’t actually retire from football, per se. With his return, the three-time Super Bowl champion depicted he retired from coach Bill Belichick’s football team. And despite the wild power move from the even wilder tight end, which clearly worked, Belichick vs. Gronkowski is trade no Patriot fan should feel they lost, either.

Here’s a few other random thoughts from the day:

— Sticking with the Patriots, the organization revealed the three finalists for their 2020 Patriots Hall of Fame — Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and coach Bill Parcells.

It’s good to see the polarizing Parcells back on the ballot, which he hadn’t been since 2014. Of course, he didn’t exactly leave New England in way many respect, but he arguably started what turned into a two-decade run of dominance. All three are well-deserving of the honor, but I’d be surprised if Seymour didn’t get the red jacket this summer.

— The Los Angeles Chargers new uniforms set the Twitter world on fire. And rightfully so, as their new jerseys are pretty easily the best to come out of the 2020 NFL offseason.

(And yes, that includes the Patriots, which were released Monday and reportedly updated Tuesday.)

— Quick shoutout to all the Massachusetts high school athletes who essentially had their spring seasons cancelled Tuesday as Governor Charlie Baker announced schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

We had a great perspective Monday from intern Gabby Guerard about college athletes hanging it up, and unfortunately, MIAA athletes have been forced to follow suite.

Stat of the Day

Well, one statistic pretty clearly depicted what’s contributed to the lack of success by the Cincinnati Bengals over the last six seasons.

The Bengals have had only one of their last six first-round draft picks play more than 75 snaps during their rookie seasons. Two of those six picks did not play a single snap during their rookie year.

Quarterback Joe Burrow likely will be selected No. 1 overall in Thursday’s NFL Draft, and perhaps make it two of their last seven.

Tweet of the Day

The coronavirus pandemic, seemingly anyway, has yet to slow down. But those who know Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, know he won’t either.

Smart continued to help the fight amid the pandemic by sending healthcare workers in the ICU at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island slides and socks.

Video of the Day

A dog, that of Barstool Sports’ PFT Commenter, was the first to report Gronk potentially being traded to Tampa Bay on March 8. So, when the news officially broke Tuesday, he was well-deserving of a victory lap.

(Disclaimer: Some included language NSFW.)

Either way, Leroy the Insider certainly is a good boy.

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