Hannable: Trading Rob Gronkowski before 2018 season would make no sense for Patriots

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Photo credit Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

It seemed like the Rob Gronkowski trade rumors had died down, but that changed on Monday.

Speaking to Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, an AFC executive said he thinks the tight end is still available via trade until he gets his contract redone.

“Where’s the restructure of his contract?” ths AFC personnel executive said. “Until that’s done, I think he’s still available. I wouldn’t be surprised if [Bill] Belichick is going to test Gronk’s buy-in with the contract.”

The report also noted how Belichick hasn’t been afraid to trade star players close to the regular season, or even early on in the year, in the past (Logan Mankins, Deion Branch). Other teams could look to make a huge splash prior to the season by swinging a deal for the future Hall of Famer. 

The Patriots were apparently seeking a first-round pick around the draft in a deal for him.

“Belichick will be able to find a team that thinks it’s one player away and you know one of those owners will love the buzz that comes from acquiring Gronk before the season opener,” one NFC executive said.

While all that is well and good, why on Earth would the Patriots trade their superstar tight end just before the season, even if the return was a first-round pick? It makes 0.0 sense.

If Gronkowski was going to get traded the time to do it was around the draft so the draft pick could be for the 2018 season. If he were to be traded now, the pick would be for the 2019 draft and wouldn’t help the Patriots at all this coming season.

Look at who is behind Gronkowski on the tight end depth chart: Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, Troy Niklas, Will Tye, Ryan Izzo and Shane Wimann. The Patriots are not even close to being in an even mediocre spot at the position if Gronkowski were to be traded -- it would be among the worst groups in the entire league. If the trade occurred around the draft, then a new player could have been brought in, or even drafted with that pick, to help fill the void.

Also, there’s no denying the Patriots only have a few seasons (at best) left with Tom Brady at quarterback. The next few seasons are about doing whatever it takes to win. Trading away one of the best tight ends in NFL history to get a draft pick for the future makes no sense given the current state of the team.

Even if Gronkowski has been an issue behind the scenes, it is worth dealing with just because the window to win with Brady is so small now that he’s approaching 41 years old. If Brady had retired and the team had more of a long-term plan in place then sure, trading Gronkowski for a first-round pick may make more sense, but certainly not when the team is favored to win the Super Bowl this coming season and losing Gronkowski would certainly change those odds.

Brady also plays a role in this as well. 

The report notes by not trading Gronkowski before training camp ensures Brady will play the 2018 season because he would never step away from the game just before a new year begins. While that is likely true, look at how the Mankins trade impacted him. It took a long time for Brady to get over it and given what has happened between he and Belichick over the past year or so, who knows how the quarterback would react if his favorite tight end was dealt just before the year?

It definitely would not be good.

While it may make for good sports radio talk, trading Gronkowski doesn’t seem like a legitimate possibility.