Patriots

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski envisioned beginning his NFL career in Arizona.

Gronkowski played two seasons at the University of Arizona and was one of the best tight end prospects entering the 2010 NFL Draft. His initial preference was to make the 2-hour trip from Tuscon to Glendale and play for the Arizona Cardinals. The Kurt Warner era in Arizona had just ended and the team needed a tight end. On paper, the Cardinals and Gronkowski were a perfect match.

“I loved being in the state of Arizona … I was praying that they would take me because I wanted to go there,” Gronkowski said Tuesday on Arizona radio station 98.7 FM's "Doug & Wolf" show. “I felt like they needed a tight end and they brought me in for a little visit.”

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The visit didn't go very well.

“I took a visit there and everything, I could tell they had no interest in me,” Gronkowski said. “I could tell, the people that brought me in, they were just bringing me in to bring me in.”

Concerns over Gronkowski's back played a part in him dropping to the second round, where the Patriots took a chance on him with the 42nd overall pick. Gronkowski played nine years for the Patriots and became arguably the greatest tight end in pro football history.

He also played a part in three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams, including a Super Bowl LIII triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in February of 2019 that turned out to be his last NFL game. He retired in March of last year.

The Cardinals are still searching for an elite tight end 10 years later. The position has been an area of weakness for Arizona throughout the last decade. According to USA TODAY, Gronkowski's 80 career receiving touchdowns are 54 more than every Cardinals tight end combined (26 TDs) from 2010 through 2018. 

The Cardinals did take a tight end in the 2010 draft with the selection of Jim Dray in the seventh round. He played in 56 games (and tallied just two receiving touchdowns) for the Cardinals over a seven-year career that also included time with three other teams.

Gronkowski would've been great for the Cardinals, and he was right in their backyard.

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Tom Brady partnering with Wheels Up to provide 10 million meals to Feed America amid COVID-19

Tom Brady partnering with Wheels Up to provide 10 million meals to Feed America amid COVID-19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is the latest NFL player to make a huge impact in supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.

The six-time Super Bowl champion revealed Thursday on Twitter that he's partnering with Wheels Up to help provide 10 million meals to Feed America.

Brady's former team, the New England Patriots, also is doing its part to help people impacted by the coronavirus. Patriots owner Robert Kraft had the team's plane fly to China to pick up a shipment of 1.2 million N95 protective masks and bring them back to the United States. The plane reportedly is expected to arrive back at Logan Airport on Thursday.

Kraft also is helping the New York community with a shipment of protective masks.

Last week, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced a $5 million donation to the state of Louisiana for COVID-19 relief. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara, recently donated one million meals to the Seattle community.

Many other players from the NFL and different sports leagues have been very generous in helping all of us get through this difficult time. 

Those Julian Edelman trade rumors? Here's why the Patriots won't do it

Those Julian Edelman trade rumors? Here's why the Patriots won't do it

From somewhere in the primordial ooze of this pandemic quarantine, a rumor has emerged. 

And we must take the figurative shovel to this wriggling little organism before it has a chance to grow. 

The rumor? The Patriots may trade wide receiver Julian Edelman.

The response I got from a league source when I asked about said rumor? “Not a chance in hell.”

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The little thing grew legs on Wednesday when Ringer founder Bill Simmons joined Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports Radio and mentioned the possibility of Edelman going to the Detroit Lions. 

In response to Simmons mentioning that Edelman-to-Detroit was something he was hearing, Cowherd said, “It’s talked about.”

As Thursday began, the chatter became a little more insistent. It reached the dreaded “it’s out there” level of possibility. 

Now, I will allow that there is some cap relief in the offing if the Patriots were to move Edelman, who currently has a $9.3M cap hit for this season. Our most trusted source for Patriots cap info for the past 20 years is Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal. This is how Miguel sums up the cap implications of trading Edelman. 

There are some other numbers out there that say Edelman’s hit would be $8.3M if he were dealt. That doesn’t take into account the $3.3M in salary that would travel with Edelman and be saved by the Patriots. You also have to project whether or not Edelman achieves a workout bonus and some other bookkeeping to get the real number. 

I glaze over with the cap stuff. But the long and short of it is the team will save north of $4M in cap space if they trade Edelman before June 1. 

But trading away a going-on-34-year-old is not going to yield much in return.

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Edelman had a 100-catch, 1,117 yard season despite being injured and the focal point of every defensive game plan in 2019. But how good will he be in 2021, 2022 or 2023? That’s what teams consider before parting with draft picks. How many years of service can they get from the guy they are getting for a third-rounder?

So moving a tone-setting, chain-moving security blanket in exchange for a fourth-rounder in order to save $4M on the cap? When guard Joe Thuney is sitting there on the franchise tag, waiting to be renegotiated with a possible cap savings of $10M? 

Where would the Patriots offense have been in 2019 without Edelman? Where would it have been in 2000 or 2001 without Troy Brown? Screwed. 

Unless the Patriots want to raise the white flag on 2020 in early April, dealing Edelman makes no sense.