Do you remember the “Derelicte Fashion Show” towards the end of Zoolander? In the climactic scene, Mugatu accuses Derek of using the same face for his three signature looks. Out of frustration, Mugatu screams, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Right now, I’m Mugatu and I’m taking crazy pills because I’m in the minority when I say the Patriots blew the Rob Gronkowski trade.
Yesterday, the beast they call “Gronk” became a Buccaneer when the Patriots traded him and a 7th rounder in exchange for a 4th rounder.
Gronkowski will join his friend and fellow Patriot castaway, Tom Brady, in “Tompa Bay.” I’d venture to say TB12 is pretty happy that he can throw to one of the best tight ends to ever play the game.
After the trade happened, I can’t help but think that the Patriots blew this trade. Gronk and a 7th round pick for a 4th round pick? That’s it? That’s all they could get for a 30-year-old tight end who essentially “redshirted” last season? This is Rob Gronkowski we’re talking about. This is the same player who has the most career postseason receiving yards by a tight end and became the only tight end to ever lead the league in receiving touchdowns with 17 in 2011. Has Gronk struggled these past few seasons? Absolutely, but I point to his health as the reason for his decline. Gronk is not going to score 17 TDs, but it’s not our of the question he could catch 7 or 8. With that being said, all the Pats could get in return was a fourth-round pick? I’m dumbfounded.
The major argument for those who support the trade revolves around the Pats’ “lack of leverage.” It’s clear the Gronkowski only wanted to play with Brady. If Gronk came back to the Pats, they would be on the books for $12M cap hit for a team that has little space, to begin with. Instead, the Pats traded him directly off of the reserve/retired list so it has no impact on their cap. Essentially, the Pats turned nothing into something by receiving a fourth-round pick in exchange for a previously retired player.
Plus, Drew Rosenhasus threw this trade in the spin zone by saying Gronk did the Pats favor. Huh?
Am I taking crazy pills? This is a bad trade. Why am I in the minority on this trade? Bill Belichick and the Patriots owned the rights to Rob Gronkowski. They have total control over where Gronk could end up. Once Gronk said he only wanted to play in Tampa, the same team that signed your franchise’s best player, the Pats had all the leverage in the world.
Think about it. If Tampa is the only option, why not force their hand if you’re the Patriots? If you want Gronk, you’re going to have to overpay for him. Why should the Pats give in to Gronk’s demands when he retired with a year left on his contract? The Bucs, who will do everything in their power to keep Brady happy, are not going to pull out of trade discussions for Gronk because the Pats wanted a little more in return. I’m not saying Mike Evans needed to come back in the trade. However, the Pats couldn’t get a 3rd rounder instead of a 4th?
What about adding in another 4th round pick in a later draft in addition to this year’s 4th round pick? Hell, the Pats couldn’t get OJ Howard and a 6th rounder in exchange for Gronk? I find it hard to believe that if the Pats asked for a little more compensation, the Bucs would say no. I get the “wanting to do right by a player,” but this is the same organization that cut a player 24 hours before they played in the Super Bowl. Since when does Bill B care about your feelings? He could have just held onto Gronk’s rights and wait for a better offer.
Maybe hardball doesn’t work with Gronk and he’s adamant on playing. If Gronk files for reinstatement, which puts the Pats on the books for over $10m, that’s even better. Screw the cap, the Pats have a great tight end again! In order for Gronk to earn his full payday, he has to play so the Pats offense would welcome the WWE 24/7 Champion with open arms. back with open arms.
Gronk may have lost a step, but he’s worth a lot more than a 4th round pick. If you think that’s his value, then I’ll continue to take my crazy pills.
Do you agree or disagree with the Gronk trade from the Patriots’ perspective? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.