Appearing on The Herd With Colin Cowherd (h/t Mike Cole of NESN) on Monday, The MMQB's Albert Breer said the following regarding New England shopping Gronk: "I don't think they were shopping Gronk to the entire league, but there were some teams they trust that I know they talked to. Detroit, Tennessee, Houston, San Francisco—you guys can make the connections there."
No trade materialized, and Gronkowski is currently set to enter the 2018 season as New England's starting tight end.
Gronkowski acknowledged after the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last season that he was going to think about his playing future.
Gronk did not attend voluntary OTAs, but he took part in mandatory minicamp and confirmed his intention to play in 2018.
Breer indicated that the Pats decided against trading Gronkowski after the All-Pro tight end had a discussion with head coach Bill Belichick:
"So Bill has Gronk in, and at that point, Bill had some discussions about trading him and Gronk sat down with Bill and all indications I got was that Gronk basically affirmed to Bill he wants to be a Patriot. That's when they decided 'OK, we're gonna try to work out contract terms and go forward with this thing,' but there was a come to Jesus moment."
Gronk has two years remaining on his contract, but the two sides are reportedly working on restructuring his deal.
The teams New England reportedly spoke with regarding a Gronkowski trade all have ties to the Patriots.
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia was a defensive coordinator with the Pats before leaving this offseason, and general manager Bob Quinn was previously in New England's front office.
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was an offensive coordinator with the Patriots.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was a Patriots linebacker, and general manager Jon Robinson was in New England's front office.
Finally, the San Francisco 49ers and Patriots have a working relationship, as New England traded the Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last season.
Gronkowski would have represented a massive upgrade at tight end for all of the aforementioned teams with the exception of Tennessee, as Gronk would've paired with another Pro Bowler in Delanie Walker.
Although Gronk is susceptible to injuries, he is already among the best tight ends of all time.
He is a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time First-Team All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion. Also, his 76 career touchdown catches are the most in Patriots history.
With wide receiver Julian Edelman facing a four-game suspension and wideout Brandin Cooks out of the equation after getting traded to the Los Angeles Rams, Gronkowski is arguably an even more important figure than usual for the Patriots entering 2018.