By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It wouldn’t be a day in 2018 without a new report or rumor about Rob Gronkowski.
On Wednesday, it was Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk who released a bit of information on the heels of Robert Kraft’s strong assertion that the dramatic reports from last week were all “hogwash.”
Florio reported that there were no deals on the table with the Titans or 49ers, and there was no dramatic showdown between Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. But he did report that the Patriots did discuss possible Gronkowski trades as recently as three days prior to the start of the 2018 NFL Draft.
“It’s not known what the Patriots wanted, or whether a deal was actually close,” Florio wrote. “If it was, it never got to the point where Brady made a power play and Kraft made a boss move, literally.”
The news is informative, but not at all surprising. On Friday, in the wake of the Brady/Kraft/Belichick/Gronkowski hysteria that gripped New England for much of the day, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran and Mike Giardi both reported that the Patriots did discuss potential Gronkowski trades in the offseason. Such work could be filed under due diligence, as Belichick has proven that just about every player is fair game when it comes time to make a “decision that is best for the team.” Considering Gronkowski’s wavering commitment throughout the offseason, that news was also not a shock.
Florio’s report does add to the timeline, though. The draft began on April 26. Three days before the draft would be April 23. Gronkowski’s Instagram post stating that he had met with Belichick and was committed to playing in 2018 came on April 24.
Based on that timeline, the report makes plenty sense. After an offseason of uncertainty, draft week was time for the rubber to meet the road. That was especially true after Gronkowski’s bizarre press conference at Gillette Stadium during the weekend prior to the draft.
It’s not at all out of character for Belichick to make some calls and check the value of an asset before arriving at a final decision. It would appear in this case, Belichick deemed the best option would be to keep Gronkowski and (likely) work out some new contract details rather than trading him away before the draft.
And though the credibility and reliability of these reports have been questioned throughout the offseason, Florio was the person who speculated prior to Super Bowl LII that Gronkowski was considering retirement. Gronkowski confirmed that report after the game and reiterated last week at mandatory minicamp that he did consider retirement. So that’s at least one report on the tight end that wouldn’t be labeled as fake news.