Patriots

Howe On Felger & Mazz: Gronk For Fitzgerald Swap?

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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald  and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. (Photos by Ralph Freso and Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. (Photos by Ralph Freso and Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – After the Patriots scored just 16 points in their AFC Championship loss to the Denver Broncos, there was plenty of criticism that Bill Belichick didn’t surround Tom Brady with enough talented receivers.

People are pleading for Belichick to go out and get another big name receiver for Brady, much like he did after New England’s previous loss to Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship. Following their 2006 defeat at the hands of Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, Belichick went out and got his quarterback Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth and the group rewrote the history books (until Manning rewrote them this season).

So it should come as no surprise that Larry Fitzgerald, one of the two most talented receivers in the game along with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, has been popping up in conversations lately when it comes to potential targets for the Patriots.

Fitzgerald, who has 87 career touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons, is still under contract with the Arizona Cardinals and will have a cap hit of around $18 million next season. He recently said he would restructure his deal, which could open the door for him to finally get out of Arizona.

The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Radio Row in New York on Thursday, and has a very interesting trade proposal for the Pats and Cardinals. He says it will take at least a first round pick from New England, but also offers up a player the Pats can send to Arizona.

“One guy you have to consider, a guy with Arizona connections, is Rob Gronkowski,” said Howe. “I would consider it. If I’m the Patriots, what are the health ramifications from the knee and the back? We know how complicated it got over the first six weeks last season…. What is going to happen again this year?

“All words are he should be ready by training camp, but it’s a torn ACL so you can’t guarantee that,” he said. “There is so much money on the line for him in two years. He has so much on the line, that maybe they look at that and say the knee isn’t going to be ready until October.

“Then (the Patriots) have to consider how easy is it to upgrade the tight end position in the draft this year. It seems to be a talented class,” he said. “If they think they can get Fitzgerald for Gronkowski, and have the best outside wide receiver since Moss was at the top of his game since 2007, and do a plug-and-play for a little while with the tight ends in the draft and get by for a year, it’s something you have to consider.”

Howe started by saying there have been no formal discussions or conversations between the Patriots and Cardinals, but as long as the stud receiver is stuck in the NFC West — with Seattle and San Francisco likely competing for the division crown for the foreseeable future — Fitzgerald rumors will continue to exist.

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