Maybe it's old news, but the idea of trading Gronkowski is still dumb

Maybe it's old news, but the idea of trading Gronkowski is still dumb

Am I stuck in a time warp?

The Patriots tried to trade Rob Gronkowski in the offeason? Yes! Yes! A thousand times, YES!

A Sunday splash report by ESPN's Adam Schefter adds a layer of reporting to the very well-established fact that the Patriots wanted to trade Gronk before the draft but didn't. The Lions were on the hook and talks were "deep."

The Lions, coincidentally, are the Patriots’ opponent tonight. When the Patriots play the Titans on November 11, it can also be reported then that Tennessee was asked if they were interested in a deal. Same with the 49ers whenever the Patriots see them again (now THERE’S  a team that owes the Patriots a solid).

How much did we know about this prior to day?


Well, according to multiple sources and as previously reported, Gronk was shopped to a few teams prior to the draft

He made it clear he’d sooner retire than accept a trade. Tom Brady made it clear that if the team traded Gronk, they better be ready to find another quarterback. 

These are things I spoke about in early April.

Sources within the organization have characterized the disillusionment of Brady and Gronk as being completely quarantined. They are on an island. The other coaches and players aren’t bristling about an uncomfortable environment, thudding negativity, or the never-ending mind games. It’s not Shangri-La. It’s closer to Parris Island. But it’s always been that way so who really changed?

Meanwhile, you’re Bill Belichick and watching this offseason of indiscreet discontent and thinking to yourself, “What’s my move here? Do I throw Gronk another pile of incentives to sweeten up his contract and get him to dummy up for a while? Does Brady want more money? I can knock his cap down.”

Then you remember you’re Bill Belichick and that’s the motherscratching opposite of what you normally do. So you think about trading Gronk.

Then you think about the further fallout with the quarterback. And the fact that -- if Gronk is already babbling about retirement -- he isn’t going to report to whatever Godforsaken outpost you ship him to. And you realize that, if Brady is already waffling about his future, why would you extend him past 2019? To save money against a cap that really isn’t even an issue right now? 

That stupid-ass motocross press conference Gronk did on Saturday, April 21, five days before the draft was – as everyone in New England guessed – the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Bill Belichick – who’d had it with Gronk’s offseason ambivalence and Gronk and Brady going rogue with their offseason participation – wasn't going to be shown up like that. And Gronk's teammates who were already working in the voluntary offseason program, weren't going to be shown up like that. 

But once Gronk nixed the trade, an air-clearing meeting happened on Tuesday, April 24, as reported by Schefter after a conversation with Rosenhaus. 

They put the toothpaste back in the tube. Belichick assured Gronk he wouldn’t be traded and would get a contract tweak, which eventually came in August.


While Schefter reported on the fence-mending meeting in April, it wasn’t until early June when the scuttlebutt about the possible trade bubbled up. At that time, it was portrayed as current and poised to happen. 

It wasn’t. The most detail on that day came from Adam Kurkjian, a former Boston Herald writer who tweeted:

From multiple sources, here's what I have re: the Gronk rumors. Told Belichick wanted to trade him. Offers on the table w both the Titans and 49ers. He and Robert Kraft had a closed-door meeting to discuss. Tom Brady threatened to retire if the deal went through. Kraft nixed it.

The Patriots shot that down saying there was “zero truth” to anything Kurkjian reported. 

I was merely able to report that A) they’d tried to trade him and B) they weren’t going to

Schefter’s add today was the Lions. And that’s news.

But here we are, on September 23 back kinda where we were a few months ago. The Patriots tried to trade Gronk. We know.  

The details aren't the story. The fact that this is a story, that this came close to happening if not for Gronk putting big foot down, is and continues to be THE STORY.

Six months after trading Jimmy Garoppolo for peanuts, two months after benching Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, in the midst of a war with the greatest quarterback of all-time that put Belichick at odds with an owner who couldn't bear the thought of a post-Brady Patriots - Belichick was trying to trade the best tight end in football. 

Regardless of how rancorous things had gotten or how much Gronk and Brady were acting out, that there was no Camp David summit meeting prior to Gronk being almost dealt is both ridiculous and not the least bit surprising. 

I don't know what kind of machinations the Patriots had in place if they dealt Gronk - I'm sure it wouldn't have included Brian Hoyer throwing to Dwayne Allen for the opener - but whatever scenario unfolded, the Patriots wouldn't have been better now without Gronk and Brady. 

They are what's best for the football team. And Gronk saying "Me no go!" saved the Patriots. For now. 



Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas to start camp on PUP list

Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas to start camp on PUP list

As the Patriots gear up for the start of training camp and another Super Bowl championship defense, a few key players will start camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). 

Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas are the big names on there, per Field Yates, while Mike Reiss reported Nate Ebner, Cole Croston, Deatrich Wise and Ken Webster will begin camp on the PUP list. 

All this means is the players on the PUP list at this time have not been cleared for on-field drills yet. They can come off any time since it is just training camp. If any of these players end training camp on the PUP list, they can be placed there for the regular season, where they won't be able to practice or play for the first six weeks of the year. 

On the bright side, it appears left tackle Isaiah Wynn will not begin camp on the PUP list, according to Mike Reiss. The Patriots selected Wynn in the first round of the 2018 draft, but the University of Georgia product missed the entire season with an Achilles injury.

Wynn projects to be the team's starting left tackle this season after the loss of Trent Brown in free agency, so it's a good sign he'll be able to participate right away at camp. 

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Patriots HOFers Brown, Harrison back on the field in Foxboro this week when training camp begins

AP Images

Patriots HOFers Brown, Harrison back on the field in Foxboro this week when training camp begins

As the Patriots return to training camp this week, they'll be plenty of familiar faces getting back to work and some new additions. 

Among those who know they're way around the fields in Foxboro and will be out there again are a Patriots Hall of Famer and soon-to-be Pats HOFer, Troy Brown and Rodney Harrison. 

Brown, the former versatile receiver inducted into the team's Hall in 2012, will be on the field working with receivers again, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. While not officially on the coaching staff, Brown worked with first-round pick N'Keal Harry, free-agent signee Maurice Harris and veteran Julian Edelman, along with other receivers at minicamp in June. He's lent a hand to Bill Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge, who is also doubling as receivers coach after several staff departures in the offseason. Brown's former teammate Jerod Mayo is on the staff and will work with linebackers.

Harrison, who will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame at a Gillette Stadium ceremony on July 29 along with late offensive lineman Leon Gray, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, when the team begins practices. While not coaching, Harrison, the former hard-hitting safety who now works for NBC as an NFL analyst, will be a visitor on the field and is never shy about sharing his insights and opinions, such as going into the Pats Hall means more than being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall in Canton.

"To get named a Hall of Famer to the greatest organization in sport ever, it just means so much to me," Harrison told Reiss. "I'm still stunned. I can't believe I'm in the Patriots Hall of Fame. All I can do is shake my head at this point."

As for the current edition of the Patriots, Harrison expects them to be in a familiar position:  "I know Kansas City is really good...but I still think the Pats are the best team in the AFC."

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