Bucs, Patriots in trade talks to bring Rob Gronkowski out of retirement

Tom Brady might not be the only former Patriot to play for Tampa Bay in 2020.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots and Buccaneers are in discussions for a trade that would bring the tight end out of retirement for one final season with quarterback Tom Brady. The trade, pending a physical for Gronkowski, would send him and a seventh-round pick to the Bucs; the Patriots would receive a fourth-round pick in return.

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Per NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Gronkowski has started adding weight in anticipation of a return to the NFL:

It should be noted that Tampa Bay has six tight ends on its current roster, including 2017 first-round pick O.J. Howard, who finished first among Bucs tight ends in receiving yards (459) and second in catches (34). That said, the 6-6, 251-pound tight end had a single touchdown in the entire 2019 season (a career-low) and struggled with frustrating drops, often in inopportune moments.

“It’s hard to say (what’s wrong),” Arians said of Howard in November after the Bucs’ 31-24 loss to the Saints. “He’s a talented, talented guy, but it’s not showing up on Sundays.”

If Arians hasn’t seen enough from Howard to warrant further trust in him, it makes sense that he’d look for a proven alternative with an existing rapport with his current quarterback. Whether he will continue to work with Howard — who is due $1.9 million in 2020 — or attempt to deal him elsewhere remains to be seen, if the trade plays out at all.

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