Where Will Gronk Land?
By: Brennan Sokowoski
Rob Gronkowski is the most interesting man at every party that he goes to. NFL and sportscasters all over the globe are as obsessed with Gronk’s lifestyle as arson is with fire. However, Gronkowski’s football life has been anything but exciting, unless you count the three super bowl wins and countless accolades along the way.
However, Gronk has been a man of few teammates, mainly quarterbacks, as he’s only ever played for one. Tom Brady. Gronk is loyal to the man that helped him go from a second round question mark to an all-decade tight end.
Prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick had this to say about his future tight end, “So Rob Gronkowski, certainly an interesting player. Excellent size, very well thought of down there by Coach [Mike] Stoops and his staff. I think as we saw there, in New York, he’s kind of a fun-loving guy who enjoys having a good time, but he plays like that, too. He plays with a good attitude. He’s aggressive.” One Raider’s scout even said that Gronkowski was the “best all-around player in that draft.”
With all that being said, Gronkowski is a pending unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Let’s take a look at some places that would FIT Gronk, and where I actually think he’s going to land.
So you want to build around quarterback Kyler Murray, but you give him no tight end to throw to? The Cardinal tight end’s consisted of Dan Arnold, Darrell Daniels, Seth DeValve and Maxx Williams. All in all, that quartet caught 63 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns. Not exactly a recipe for “win with points” when your tight ends combined caught 18 more passes, for just nine more yards and one less touchdown than Gronk.
Arizona would see an immediate boost in production from the tight end position, which would allow Dan Arnold to settle into his role as a secondary tight end, rather than the primary target. Additionally, Gronk is a MUCH better blocker and provides a second much needed big body for red zone targets, that’ll open up the outside of the field for more DeAndre Hopkins production. With around $19.5 million in cap space, Arizona makes a lot of sense for a 1-year rental for Gronk.
Another young quarterback that the team is looking to build around, without having a single tight end with notable production to be seen. The Bills did make a big time trade to acquire Stefon Diggs but his production tapered towards the end of the season due to the Bills’ inability to bring the safeties and linebackers to the middle of the field with a receiving threat. Enter Gronkowski.
The Bills were in an even worse spot at tight end than the Cardinals were. Dawson Knox was the leading tight end receiver and he only totaled 24 receptions, barely half of Gronk’s, 288 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills have an arsenal of blocking tight ends, but no real receiving threat to open up the outside for Diggs and speed receiver Gabriel Davis. The Bills are in a winning window, and would have to make some cuts to obtain the services of Gronk, but it would be in their best interest to gain another true target monster like Gronk to extend their window.
Russell Wilson has already communicated that he’s frustrated with the lack of help that the Seahawks have given him throughout the years. If you look at his outside targets, those are set between Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. However, his tight end targets have been less than thrilling. Jacob Hollister, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly are some of his most recent targets and none of those players have been anything close to relevant in recent years.
Gronk changes that narrative for the tight ends, and also changes the idea that the Seahawks aren’t actively trying to help their franchise quarterback. Russell would obviously be much more of a “veteran” quarterback than Josh Allen or Kyler Murray if Gronk is looking for a veteran presence to help lead another deep playoff run. With around $14.5 million in cap space, the Seahawks could make the splash signing that they need to keep Russ happy.
Those are the three teams that I think would take any immediate step forward as playoff teams or potential contenders. However, as I stated earlier in the article, Gronkowski has only ever played for one quarterback in his career. Tom Brady will ultimately decide Gronk’s fate, if I’m being honest. As Bruce Arians said at the Super Bowl parade, they’re “not stopping at 1,” which leads me to believe Gronkowski goes back to Tampa Bay.
The most logical landing spot for Gronkowski is going to be heading back to TOMpa Bay and try to continue their reign of terror on the NFL. Having just taken out the new golden boys of the NFL, Gronk should return on a short, one to two year, contract that is team friendly to Tampa Bay to allow them to retain the players they currently have on their roster. Gronk, like his friend Tom, has been very willing to work with both New England and Tampa Bay to secure a super bowl level roster.
Tampa Bay really doesn’t even have to worry about cap constraints either. The Buccaneers will enter the new league year with around $27.8 million in cap space, per spotrac. The Bucs do have some major free agents set to hit the market in Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the Super Bowl Champions.
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