Patriots

Bill Belichick blew it again with light return in Rob Gronkowski trade

Patriots

I had just hit "send" on a "three Rob Gronkowski trades I'd make" column when word on the trade compensation came through. Here are the trades I had in mind: 

1. Gronkowski for No. 45, No. 117 and O.J. Howard 
2. Gronkowski and No. 23 for No. 14 and O.J. Howard
3. Gronkowski and No. 100 for No. 45 and O.J. Howard

Here's what the Patriots actually got: an upgrade of one of their seventh-round picks to a fourth-round pick. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Is Bill Belichick bad at trades or something? What the hell is going on? 

In recent years, he's now done Jimmy Garoppolo for a second, Jacoby Brissett for Phillip Dorsett, a second for Mohamed Sanu and now Rob Gronkowski for... a move from the seventh to the fourth? 

And in this case, he had leverage. If Gronkowski wanted to come out of retirement to play for Tampa and only Tampa, that means Tampa has to give up a lot to get him. As for the threat of Gronkowski filing for reinstatement and putting $10 million on the Pats' books for the year?

Fine, then make him play and you have a tight end. It beats giving him up for nothing. 

Plus, when you consider they just signed Tom Brady (they were one of only two teams to offer him a contract), the Bucs should have been more than willing to spend if it meant going all in.

 

Think of it this way: Tom Brady's last team traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu. The Patriots couldn't get his new one to match that to get a season or two of Gronkowski? 

Sometimes Belichick is stubborn to a fault, but if that was all the Bucs were willing to offer, this was the time for him to be stubborn and say no. He doesn't owe Brady or Gronk a damn thing. He could have just held onto Gronkowski and either waited for the offer to improve or let the player stay retired. 

And if Brady and Gronk throw fits? Too bad. It would have been Bucs GM Jason Licht's fault for not paying up. But no, they got their guy and barely had to give up anything.  

Awful. Just awful. I'm going to send this column in before news of a Thuney-for-a-sixth trade breaks. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NFL Draft. This Wednesday at 5 p.m., stream the NBC Sports On the Clock: NFL Mock Draft special on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com.