Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the smoke emanating from Foxboro over the past few months has been enough to make one gag. There is a real power struggle going on with the Patriots right now and it’s likely not going to cease until one of the major players in this whole thing is out of town or retired.
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran nixed a strong rumor that the Pats were ready to trade Rob Gronkowski last Friday, but Curran later wrote that the Pats have looked at trading Gronk during this tumultuous off-season.
Reporter Adam Kurkjian tweeted that Bill Belichick had deals in place with the Titans and 49ers but Robert Kraft put a halt to the Pats trading Gronk when Tom Brady threatened to retire if one of the deals went through. That is some heady stuff.
Kurkjian doubled down on his reporting Monday when he was a guest of WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan.”
“I was first tipped off that something was going down [last] Thursday and I started to get very specific information of Friday,” Kurkjian said. “The first piece of information I got was Brady was willing to retire over something like this. It turned out to be a trade with Rob Gronkowski. I asked around. I didn’t believe any of it. I was not looking to break any of this, because I didn’t believe any of it until I started asking around. When you get a tip like this, you have to be very careful, because the information is very sensitive.
“Ever since all of this has come out, I’ve privately gotten a lot of confirmations. I’ve got zero denials,” Kurkjian continued. “I was able to chase this only because the information I was getting was so specific, including the names of the teams. When you have stuff like that coming in you almost have to – as a journalist – seek it out to see if it’s true. I wasn’t looking to break a story, and honestly if I didn’t get that last domino to fall from somebody who I trust – who knows just as much as [Patriots PR representative] Stacey James – there is no tweet and there is no story and I just go on with my Friday night as usual.”
Gronk rumors nothing new
The MMQB’s Albert Breer was the first to float that the Patriots would be interested in moving on from No. 87.
“No matter how you look at [Gronk], he’s high maintenance. With what we’ve seen from the Patriots in the past is with high maintenance players they’ll put up with it while they’re still productive at the highest level,” Breer said in the fall of 2016. “Doing all of that works – trying to keep him healthy and breaking all of the rules you have for everyone else to keep him on board. Eventually a guy’s production doesn’t match what it takes to do all of that. We saw that with Randy Moss. They were willing to put up with all the crap with Randy Moss until it wasn’t worth it anymore because he couldn’t play. He could be the surprise trade guy down the line.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes all is not lost when it comes to the Patriots and Gronkowski and that most of this noise is posturing by the Pats as it negotiates a contract with Gronk.
“Chatter regarding a potential trade of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to bubble up from time to time in part because Gronkowski has yet to get a new contract,” Florio wrote. “And a new contract won’t be coming in the immediate future. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a new contract for Gronkowski is ‘likely,’ but nothing is imminent.’”