Patriots

Patriots trade tight end Rob Gronkowski to Buccaneers for this return

Patriots trade tight end Rob Gronkowski to Buccaneers for this return

UPDATE (9 p.m. ET): It's official: Rob Gronkowski is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The New England Patriots have traded the tight end and their seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for Tampa Bay's 2020 fourth-round pick (No. 139 overall), the Bucs confirmed.

-- End of update --

A major NFL trade is close to being completed.

The New England Patriots will send tight end Rob Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Gronkowski already has taken his physical and passed it, per FOX Sports' Jay Glazer.

Acquiring a fourth-round pick isn't a bad return for the Patriots, who entered Tuesday with 12 selections (including one fourth-rounder) in this week's 2020 NFL Draft. The Patriots didn't have a ton of leverage here. The Bucs didn't absolutely need Gronk because they already had two quality tight ends, and the Patriots don't have enough salary cap space to take on the $10 million salary he'll receive in 2020.

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The future Hall of Fame tight end retired in March of 2019 after spending his first nine pro seasons with the Patriots. Gronkowski wasn't able to come out of retirement and immediately join the Buccaneers because there was still another year left on his Patriots contract. A trade had to be made for him to reunite with former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

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Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

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Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.


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Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.