AFC Executive: Rob Gronkowski Is Available in Trade Until TE Gets New Contract

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski catches the ball during an NFL football minicamp practice, Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to put retirement on hold for now, but it still remains to be seen whether he will be wearing a New England Patriots uniform in 2018.

Some around the NFL believe Gronkowski is available until he works out a new deal with New England.

"Where's the restructure of his contract?" an AFC personnel executive said, via the Boston Sports Journal's Greg A. Bedard (h/t WEEI's Ryan Hannable). "Until that's done, I think he's still available. I wouldn't be surprised if Belichick is going to test Gronk's buy-in with the contract."

Gronkowski signed a six-year, $53 million extension back in 2012, although he and the Pats came to an agreement last year on a restructured deal for the 2017 season. In mid-April, The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported money was the reason behind Gronk's absence from parts of New England's offseason workouts.

It's been a tumultuous offseason for the Patriots, which started when the 29-year-old tight end revealed after their Super Bowl LII loss that he was contemplating retirement. In April, ESPN.com's Jeff Darlington reported there was "lingering frustration" between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick.

Gronk took time to think about his future and ultimately decided to return for at least one more season.

However, New England had been shopping the five-time Pro Bowler leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

Freelance journalist Adam Kurkjian tweeted that Belichick had offers on the table, but the deals were nixed when Tom Brady threatened to retire if his 6'6", 265-pound target was traded. Patriots vice president of media relations Stacey James denied those rumors, via Kurkjian

Regardless of any internal issues that may be present, Gronkowski remains a difference-maker in the passing game. He caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns last season and added 218 yards and three scores during a run to the Super Bowl.

In late May, Howe reported Gronk and the Patriots were "closing in" on a reworked contract. But until he signs on the dotted line, the tight end's future in New England remains up in the air.

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