One of the NFL’s great debates five years ago was, “Who is better – Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski?”
Soon enough, the two could be teammates with the Patriots.
“The play-calling and (former offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell is the issue (in Seattle),” Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms said. “They never found a way to creatively install him or make him part of the offense. It was, ‘Oh OK, we got in the red zone. We’ll throw a jump ball to you. There just wasn’t the ways we saw that Sean Payton utilized him … I would say watch out for the New England Patriots, who like tight ends that are big and can run down the middle of the field.”
In 2013 with the Saints, Graham caught 86 balls for 1,215 yards and a whopping 16 touchdowns. He never broke the 1,000-mark in a season during his time in Seattle, however.
The idea of pairing Graham with Gronkowski is obviously enticing. But if the Pats do wind up signing Graham in free agency – it could serve more as Gronk insurance.
When Martellus Bennett was hot during the 2016 season, there were whispers that the Patriots were getting ready to pay Bennett instead of Gronk. In fact, during November of 2016 TheMMQB’s Albert Breer said he thought the Pats would trade Gronkowski “down the line.”
“No matter how you look at it, [Gronkowski is high maintenance,” Breer said at the time, well before all the recent Gronk retirement drama. “It’s fair to say that he’s a high maintenance player. Now what we’ve seen from the Patriots in the past – with high maintenance players they’ll put up with it while they’re still productive at the highest level. Eventually there comes a point where doing all of that work to keep him healthy and breaking all the rules that you have for everybody else to keep him on board – eventually a guy’s production doesn’t match what it takes to do all of that.
“We saw it with Randy Moss. They were willing to put up with all the crap with Randy Moss when he was scoring 23 touchdowns and when he was helping Matt Cassel in 2008. You get to 2010 and all of a sudden all the yapping and crap and everything else – the contract situation – that wasn’t worth it anymore … Down the line, [Gronkowski] may be the surprise trade guy.”