Imagine seeing Rob Gronkowski in Sunday night's Patriots-Lions game, but instead of him wearing the Pats' colors, he's wearing Lions' traditional silver. That would be a surreal scene, and it's one that nearly happened.

According to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Lions and Patriots had a deal in place to send the All-World tight end from the only place he's played to a would-be NFC contender.

Gronk wasn't having it though: when he found out about the deal, he threatened to retire and "even declined to return the Lions' calls" per Schefter. That despite the fact that coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn are running the show in Detroit: both were long-time stalwarts of the Patriots organization.

This all went down during the weekend of the draft -- per Schefter the two clubs "were deep into trade discussions last offseason that peaked during the week of the draft, when the teams nearly completed a blockbuster trade."

All of the trade discussions stemmed out of the contractual concerns Gronkowski had with the Patriots. The tight end believed he should get a new deal from New England, but the Patriots did not sound inclined to pony up a bunch of additional guaranteed money for a guy with his injury history. 

Eventually the Patriots and Gronkowski would work out a new deal to make the tight end happy.

There were multiple reports during the lead up to the season about whether or not Gronkowski would actually return to play in 2018, with continued reports about Gronk mulling retirement popping up

Trade rumors were running rampant this offseason, though; we heard the Patriots potentially had a deal in place after shopping Gronk to multiple suitors. All of the teams involved had a common theme: Belichick trusted them. The Lions, Titans and Texans all feature former Patriots assistants or players running the team. The 49ers feature Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, who Belichick has grown to trust and respect through the Jimmy Garoppolo deal.

It was also reported that Gronk was "frustrated" with Belichick. That frustration was potentially born out of the notion of Belichick and Tom Brady dealing with tensions over Jimmy G and Alex Guerrero. Perhaps Gronk's frustration was simply over the trade chatter.