Patriots

Could Rob Gronkowski finish career with Patriots' division rival?

Patriots

Is a homecoming in the works for Rob Gronkowski?

We're not talking about a reunion with the New England Patriots. We're talking about Gronkowski's hometown Buffalo Bills, who are interested in signing the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end when he becomes a free agent later this month, The Athletic's Tim Graham reports.

"There is hope at One Bills Drive that Gronkowski would be willing to finish his career in Western New York," Graham wrote Wednesday.

The Bills had contact with Gronkowski last offseason, per Graham, but the Amherst, N.Y., native decided to re-up with the Bucs in 2021 and stay with longtime quarterback Tom Brady. Now that Brady is "retired," however, Buffalo apparently hopes it can lure Gronk back home as it gears up for a Super Bowl run in 2022.

Gronkowski, who played the 2021 season on a one-year, $8 million contract, has been working out regularly at the Bucs' facility and has yet to tell the team whether he'll retire or return for a 12th NFL season, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday.

The wild card here is Brady, who announced his retirement last month but has left the door open for an NFL return and apparently has been "staying loose" so far this offseason.

 

Brady is the only starting quarterback Gronkowski has played for in the NFL, so if the legendary QB decides to unretire and join another team, there's a very good chance Gronk follows. The question is when Brady would make that decision, and whether Gronk would want to decouple from his close friend once free agency begins if Brady's future plans are still unclear.

Here's Gronk's prediction about Tom Brady's NFL future

If that's the case, Gronkowski should have plenty of suitors after catching 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns last season. And he could do far worse at QB than Josh Allen, who's one of the top five passers in the game at age 25.

So, the opportunity to play for an elite quarterback on his hometown team with the chance to stick it to the Patriots twice in a season has to be pretty tempting for the veteran tight end.