New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been a consistent force on the field and in social media during his NFL career. If he doesn’t retire at the conclusion of this season, there are plenty of destinations that would love to have him as their own.
Rob Gronkowski announced that he will retire from the NFL after the 2018 season. If he doesn’t, here are 5 destinations for him to play if he wants to continue playing football.
Rob Gronkowski is a tight end for the New England Patriots, an All-Pro tight end for the New England Patriots, retired almost three years ago. Less than a year later, veteran quarterback Tom Brady followed him out of Foxborough, Mass., and was reunited with his longtime weapon on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let’s fast forward to the year 2022. After 21 seasons and seven Super Bowl titles, Brady, now 44, announced his retirement in early February. It was unknown if Gronkowski, who turns 33 in May, will return to the Buccaneers next season, play elsewhere, or retire for the second time at the time of publishing.
If Gronkowski wants to play next season, now is the time to evaluate whether clubs might be a good fit for the four-time Super Bowl winner. We evaluated the top prospective clubs for this list based on everything from the existing squad and cap space to anything else the player could be interested in. A Super Bowl contender and a proven starting quarterback are two possibly enticing considerations in Gronkowski’s case.
Based on the aforementioned criteria, the best clubs for Gronkowski — assuming he doesn’t retire, of course — are as follows.
New England Patriots (honorable mention)
Gronkowski and the Patriots do not, realistically, make sense together at this moment. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, New England’s starting tight ends, both received multi-year contracts in the summer of 2021.
Even if Henry and Smith weren’t in New England, Gronkowski’s desire to play for the Patriots again must be questioned. For over three years, he hasn’t referred to Bill Belichick as his head coach. For what it’s worth, following Gronkowski’s departure, the eight-time Super Bowl winner gave Gronkowski’s No. 87 away as a message that life goes on. Belichick may not be waiting to embrace his former second-round pick at Logan International Airport.
Although anything is theoretically conceivable, football fans should not anticipate seeing Gronkowski in a Patriots jersey next season.
Buccaneers of Tampa Bay, No. 5
After Brady’s retirement, the Buccaneers are either rebuilding or transitioning, so it’s difficult to know where a 33-year-old tight end fits into the picture. The Super Bowl 55 victors, on the other hand, haven’t given the sense that they want to move on from Gronkowski, so they’re on the list. Coach Bruce Arians of the Buccaneers even said that he would welcome his primary tight end back with “open arms.”
What the Buccaneers plan to do at quarterback might be crucial. If the club gets a chance to sign Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, Gronkowski is likely to prefer those alternatives over experienced backup Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Trask, a 2021 second-round selection who did not throw a ball in his first season.
Los Angeles Rams, No. 4
The Rams and Gronkowski make more sense than fans would realize at first. The reigning Super Bowl winners already have a starting quarterback, and they’re not hesitant to mix in some older guys if it means a greater chance of winning a championship. Sean McVay’s track record speaks for itself, and he has previously used starting tight end Tyler Higbee as a vertical weapon in his offense.
Gronkowski could do a lot worse than joining the Rams if he’s just looking for a fifth ring. There’s also the Los Angeles factor, which may appeal to the quirky tight end’s post-football interests.
3. Raiders of Las Vegas
Could the Los Angeles Raiders reunite Rob Gronkowski is a tight end for the New England Patriots and Josh McDaniels? | Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Gronkowski would likely not be the full-time starter since the Raiders already have a Pro Bowl tight end in Darren Waller. The Raiders, on the other hand, may appeal to him for another reason: Josh McDaniels, the Raiders’ new head coach and former offensive coordinator with the Patriots.
There’s no assurance that McDaniels’ presence will persuade Gronkowski to take his skills to Sin City. However, the four-time All-Pro tight end’s experience with the area might play a key influence in his decision to go west.
Indianapolis Colts, No. 2
Before Gronkowski considers the Colts, he has to know what the team’s plans are for veteran quarterback Carson Wentz. Despite playing well during the 2021 season, the North Dakota State product imploded in the last two weeks, causing the Colts to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.
The Colts have Jonathan Taylor, an All-Pro running back, and Michael Pittman Jr., a talented young receiver who quietly burst for 88 receptions, 1,082 yards, and six touchdowns in his sophomore season. Gronkowski might be a major upgrade over veteran tight end Jack Doyle (29 receptions, 302 yards, and three touchdowns in 2021) and unrestricted free agent Mo Alie-Cox, who may be available this spring. In his fourth NFL season, Alie-Cox, a power player for VCU’s men’s basketball team, had 24 receptions for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
Imagine seeing Gronkowski in Peyton Manning’s previous colors if the sight of Brady and Gronkowski in Buccaneers clothes seems weird. Fans of the Patriots, please accept my apologies.
1. The Bengals of Cincinnati
The Bengals should be the overwhelming favourites to sign Gronkowski if he returns for the 2022 season. The veteran tight end told Autograph NFTs on Tuesday, Feb. 8, that he’d want to play with Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in the future, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Joe Burrow is a character in the film Joe Burrow.
“In college, I used to watch [Burrow].” I really like how he carries himself on the football field. He’s so cool in the pocket, and he simply tosses it out on the field…. I like his swag as well.”
Rob Gronkowski is a tight end for the New England Patriots
You know you’re in good company when Gronkowski recommends your merch. Gronkowski and the Bengals make excellent sense together, particularly if veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah leaves free agency.
Here’s a nice visual to think about: In Super Bowl 57, Gronkowski caught a touchdown pass against Tom Brady and the San Francisco 49ers. When those two are engaged, nothing should surprise football fans anymore.
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