This Monster Energy Drink thing that Rob Gronkowski pulled this past weekend may have been the final straw for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Gronkowski was more or less mocking the Patriots’ offseason workouts when he appeared in front of a Patriots podium at Gillette Stadium on Saturday and said not much more than, “I’ve got dirk biking skills to work on.” Could the Buffalo Bills now come calling for a blockbuster NFL trade?
So, assuming this marriage is kaput – what can the Pats expect to get back in return for the best, but most fragile tight end in the NFL?
It’s most likely that Belichick would ask for a pair of second round picks (one this year, one next year) instead of holding out for a first rounder. Pats fans would immediately scream that the Pats got ripped off Jimmy Garoppolo-style if that’s all they got in return for arguably the best player to every play his position – but it’s important to remember that Gronk is not much more than an expensive rental at this stage of his career. If 2018 isn’t the last season Gronkowski plays in, 2019 likely is - given his extensive injury history.
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers were the main teams being mentioned when the Gronkowski trade rumors initially heated up three weeks ago, but the Patriots have already made trades with both of those teams for picks in this year’s draft (the Brandin Cooks trade and Garoppolo trade).
One team to watch for in the next few days on the Gronkowski front is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills own the 53rd and 56th pick in this year’s NFL Draft, which is Belchick’s draft sweet spot given the monetary value of mid-second round picks. Those two picks alone might be enough to get the job done.
Dating back to the Drew Bledsoe trade 16 years ago, Belichick and the Patriots have not been afraid to let their players go to a division rival. Also, a big chunk of the reason Gronkowski has been so brilliant over the years is that he has Tom Brady throwing him the ball. With the Bills only having AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman currently as answers at QB, Gronkowski would certainly see a big dip in production by moving from Foxboro to Orchard Park. In other words, Belichick would not be scared of Gronk coming back to haunt him.
Other Gronkowski – Bills tidbits to keep in mind are that Gronk is an Amherst, New York native (suburb of Buffalo) and the Bills recently hired former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll as their offensive coordinator. Daboll was the Patriots tight ends coach from 2014-16.