AFC executive: Rob Gronkowski available via trade until contract gets redone

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It's been an interesting offseason for Rob Gronkowski to say the least.

The tight end wouldn't commit to playing in 2018 following the Super Bowl loss and then had an interesting few weeks, including a bizarre press conference at Gillette Stadium before a motor cross event where he poked fun at the Patriots' offseason workout program. A few days later he had a meeting with Bill Belichick and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, where following the meeting the tight end announced he was back for the 2018 season.

Although he missed all of the voluntary offseason sessions, he attended mandatory minicamp and had a great week.

Things appeared back to normal until trade rumors circulated, including rumors that he was shopped right around the NFL draft. There was also one rumor that said Robert Kraft nixed a potential deal, which the Patriots owner denied.

Now, just over two weeks before training camp, it appears Gronkowski will be with the Patriots for the 2018 season, but there still are some around the league that aren't 100 percent certain.

Speaking to Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal, one AFC executive said until Gronkowski signs a new contract, he's available.

“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 Belichick is going to test Gronk’s buy-in with the contract.”

Gronkowski is signed through 2019, but as Bedard points out, 16 receivers and one tight end are scheduled to make more cash than him this coming season. There were rumors a new deal would get done last month, but it hasn't happened.

The report adds three of five general managers spoken to for the story believe Belichick is "just testing Gronkowski’s mettle" and he will have a new deal before the start of the season, while the other two feel the tight end will play the year under his current contract.

According to the report, the Patriots were looking for a first-round pick in return around the draft and could still get that before the season starts.

“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 it appears highly likely Gronkowski plays 2018 with the Patriots, all this is worth noting because there are no guarantees with Belichick and anything is possible.

The interesting offseason continues...

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