Rob Gronkowski has only been a Buccaneer for a few hours and already his presence is being felt.
Gronkowski originally retired before the 2019 season after eight years and three Super Bowl titles with Brady in New England. He has one year left on his contract worth $10 million.
There are a few variables to watch before jumping all over the Bucs at 14-1. The obvious, Gronkowski has been out of the game for a year, has shed 15 pounds. As he works to get back into playing shape, the tight end will be on his own. Team facilities are still closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Next, he'll have to fight for playing time against two other productive tight ends in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. The two finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in targets and catches in 2019, combining for 770 yards and five touchdowns. They're also a bit younger than Gronkowski, with Brate at 28 years old and Howard at 25.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Tampa Bay has no plans to trade Howard—who the team drafted 19th overall in 2017.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, head coach Bruce Arians doesn't have the best track record when it comes to tight end usage. In 2019, Brate ranked 22nd in the league in targets at his position with Howard 25th.
Arians and Brady are smart enough to figure out how to get that group more involved moving forward. It's unlikely they'd have traded for Gronkowski if that weren't the case.
Still, it's worth considering before rushing off to place your bets.