If Rob Gronkowski decides to play this season, there's no guarantee that the team he ends up playing for will be the Patriots, and that's because it sounds like there's at least a chance that New England might trade him away.
Although the thought of Gronk being traded might sound crazy, it's not as farfetched as it might seem. A Patriots team source told Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal that the "longer Gronkowski goes without saying he's all in, the chances of him being traded increases," which basically means the chances of a trade have been increasing every day for the past eight weeks.
Gronk has been mum about his future plans for nearly two months now. The Patriots tight end hasn't given any extensive comments since he mentioned at the Super Bowl that he .
Apparently, Bill Belichick is frustrated with the fact that Gronk hasn't been willing to commit to the Patriots for the upcoming season. Of course, that frustration goes both ways. According to ESPN.com, Gronk is having . Apparently, by the time the 2017 season ended, Gronk was mentally worn down by "The Patriot Way," which is one reason why he started contemplating retirement.
Although Gronk hasn't said much about anything since the Patriots' Super Bowl loss in February, several reports out of Boston have painted a picture of a player who might just be tired of playing for Belichick. On March 1, NBC Sports in Boston reported that Gronk felt "singled out" and "persecuted" by the coaching staff last year. Another report from March suggested that Belichick was making Gronk "miserable" during the 2017 season.
Gronk is a guy who likes to have fun and from the sound of it, he's not having fun anymore playing for the Patriots, which might be one of the reasons why he's been slow to announce his plans for 2018. For all we know, it's possible Gronk is slow-playing his hand so the Patriots will trade him, or it could be his way of trying to get a raise.
If there is a rift between Gronk and Belichick, one person who won't be talking about it anytime soon -- or ever -- is Belichick. The Patriots coach brushed off questions about whether or not Gronk was going to return when he was asked about the subject at the NFL's Annual League Meeting last week.
"I'm not going to speak for anybody else," Belichick said, via NBC Sports Boston. "Conversations I've had with the players -- and I've had a lot of them -- I'm gonna keep those private between myself and the player. I'll respect that coach-to-player conversation. I don't want to speak for anybody else."
As things stand, Gronk is Tom Brady plays, and by all indications, Brady . Even if Gronk returns, though, that might not fix things with Belichick. The Patriots coach is a guy who wants every player to be all-in and spending two months contemplating retirement isn't a great way to prove to your coach that you're all-in." to return in 2018, but only if
If Gronk does get traded, the Patriots aren't going to give him away. Bedard noted (via the Big Lead) that the Patriots would likely want a first- or second-rounder in return for their star tight end, which means pretty much every team with a high second-round pick should be calling the Patriots right now. If you're thinking about possible landing spots, both the Rams and 49ers would make a lot of sense. If the Rams have proven one thing this offseason, it's that they're open to trading for anyone. On the 49ers' end, a trade to San Francisco would reunite Gronk with Jimmy Garoppolo.