This week, Danny reacted to the Patriots trading Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
It was inevitable. Rob Gronkowski was going to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
And that’s exactly what happened this week, as the rights to the retired Gronkowski and a seventh round pick were traded from the Patriots to the Buccaneers in exchange for a fourth round pick.
Gronkowski will obviously now come out of retirement and play for the Bucs, whenever the NFL decides to begin. In fact, it was Gronkowski and Brady who pushed for this trade in the first place.
Brady reportedly told the Buccaneers to push for a Gronkowski trade, and Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus is now on the record saying that they put the hammer down on the Patriots, forcing their hand.
The Patriots have about $1 million left in salary cap space. Gronkowski — even though he retired before last season — still has one year remaining on his deal, worth $10 million. So Rosenhaus basically told Bill Belichick and the Patriots that Gronkowski was going to return if he wasn’t traded to Tampa Bay.
Belichick wasn’t about to go free up $9 million in cap space, especially after Brady left, so he gave in and acquired a fourth-rounder from the Bucs.
One big question is: If Brady stayed, could he had talked Gronkowski out of retirement to play for the Patriots?
We’ll never know the answer to that question. But there is an underlying theme to both Brady’s and now Gronkowski’s departures: money.
Just how do the Patriots only have $1 million left in salary cap space while their two best players of the last decade are now members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Would anyone call that good cap management?
For the next year or so, you’re going to hear about how Brady and Gronkowski didn’t want to play for Belichick anymore, and how both players were worn down by the Patriot Way. “They both needed a change,” the experts will tell you.
Did they need a change, or did they simply want to get paid what they were worth?
Both Brady and Gronkowski have been criminally underpaid their entire careers. I’m convinced that Robert Kraft could’ve kept Brady around if he had just offered him the same $50 million guaranteed that Tampa Bay offered him last month.
But Kraft wouldn’t do that. The owner of the Patriots picked his side. He chose to let Belichick handle the roster. Under the Patriot Way guidelines, Brady was just one player on that roster, and Belichick was not going to make an exception for anyone. Not even for the greatest quarterback of all time.
Then you look at Gronkowski’s contracts over the years. It’s laughable, considering just how valuable he was to the Patriots. When he retired last March, it was clear that Gronkowski was a hurting unit, both physically and mentally. That was his choice to put his body on the line like he did every Sunday, but when it came time for the ultimate reward, Gronkowski — like Brady — never got it. Not like others around the NFL did, at least.
So was it that Brady and Gronkowski could no longer play for Belichick? Or was it that Brady and Gronkowski could no longer play for Belichick under an extremely discounted price tag?
I’m going with the latter.
Don’t blame Gronkowski. Don’t blame Brady. Blame Belichick and Kraft.
This was all about money. And the Patriots just didn’t want to spend it.
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