The future of one of the Patriots' best players remains murky following a recent report that Rob Gronkowski is still considering retirement after nearly quitting football during training camp last August. On Friday, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told PFT Live that there is no timetable on a decision about whether Gronkowski will play in 2018.

That "update" comes two days after Rosenhaus and his business partner and brother Jason told reporters "We're not going to talk about" Gronkowski's future because "that's personal."

And that's certainly Gronkowski's right. But the Patriots would probably like some clarity on the situation, sooner than later. On Thursday,'s Ian Rapoport reported that Gronkowski is expected to play football in 2018 instead of pursuing other options, including acting and wrestling.

Either way, free agency opens on March 14 and Jimmy Graham is the lone big name likely to be looking for work. New England could certainly pursue him, or take a flier on a talented-but-unproven player like Trey Burton. Other options -- none of whom can alone replace Gronk -- include Austin Seferian-Jenkins or former Pats tight end Benjamin Watson.

Meanwhile, the tight end draft class isn't particularly deep; in the five most recent mock drafts only two experts have a tight end going in the first round: South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert and, not surprisingly, no one is comparing him to Gronkowski.

Last week, Gronk sent out this cryptic tweet, which did nothing to assuage the concerns of fans (and, most likely, the Patriots): "I don't know how you heard that, but I mean I'm definitely going to look at my future, for sure. I'm going to sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I'm at." The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe reports that Gronkowski plans to talk to his teammates about future and they could convince him to return for another season. Former Patriots wideout Donte' Stallworth is skeptical that will work.

In related news: Free agency begins in 12 days.