By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Some Patriots fans are pretty mad this morning. Mad at Rob Gronkowski. Mad that the team didn’t get more than a fourth-round pick for Rob Gronkowski. Mad that two of the franchise’s best players are now in Tampa Bay, and all Bill Belichick got in return was a measly fourth-round pick.
You can be mad. Who am I to tell you how to feel? But you’re being a little silly with your anger.
For starters, let’s start with that “minimal return” New England received for Gronkowski. Belichick swapped a seventh-round pick that no one would care about and turned it into a fourth-rounder, for a player who had zero intention of playing for the Patriots this season. Bill has been pretty good in the fourth round recently, snagging such players as James White and Trey Flowers. Did you really want him to get a second-round pick so he could waste it on another horrible defensive back come Friday night?
Even if Gronkowski wanted to play again in New England — which he didn’t, not without his boy Brady — the Patriots are in cap jail at the moment. The Patriots would have been forced to trade Joe Thuney (which they may do anyways) and others, just to fit Gronkowski in for one season – without Brady. Not really an ideal situation for a team looking to rebuild. So essentially, Belichick moved up three rounds in this week’s draft by trading a pro wrestler.
That pro wrestler — a current champ at that — was once the best tight end in the game, and he may return to form in 2020 after taking a season off to sell CBD, do a little song and dance routine, and, well, wrestle. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he got the itch to play football again. But he had no desire to do so in New England in 2020. Not without Brady.
Maybe that’s why you’re angry at Gronk. But don’t forget that Belichick tried to trade him in 2018 — to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit. Freaking. Lions. Over the last 22 years, two of the best players at their position — Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson — decided to retired at their peaks rather than play for the Detroit Lions. Upon hearing about a potential move to Detroit in 2018, Gronkowski threatened to do the same, nixing the trade. No one should fault him for that.
It’s true that Gronkowski left the Patriots in a tough spot when he retired last March, giving the team little time to recoup from that loss. His delayed decision reportedly cost them free agent tight end Jared Cook. For that, you can still be a little upset. Consider that a little payback for trying to trade him to the Detroit Lions.
Maybe you’re mad at Belichick, who for years treated Brady and Gronkowski, the elites at their position, as though they were any other player in the league. But at this point, you’re just being mad at Belichick for being Belichick. If you’ve been part of that party for the last 20 years, then good for you. If you’re new to that small club, please sit down.
Rob Gronkowski saw an opportunity to return to football, to return to the only quarterback he’s ever wanted to play with, and do so in a fresh new setting with a much warmer climate. You should be happy that we’ll no longer be inundated with “Gronk Hints At Comeback” stories on a bi-weekly basis. Because if you’re mad at what happened Tuesday, you were most certainly mad whenever those stories came across your timeline (not that we blame you on that front).
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are Buccaneers. Yes, that should sting for Patriots fans, especially since it sounds like they were in cahoots about teaming up all offseason. But don’t forget everything that star duo did in New England, demolishing defenses and winning three Super Bowls together. But when Brady moved on, it was time for the Patriots franchise to move in a completely new direction.
That direction would not have included Gronkowski. Today, the Patriots have an extra fourth-round pick to help their rebuild.
We’re not saying you should be happy about all this, but it’s really no reason to ruin your day, week or month. Just go spike a football in your backyard or scream into a pillow for a few seconds and move on, like a normal person.