Rob Gronkowski is reportedly planning a return to the NFL and he'd like to do so as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Tom Brady as his quarterback. That means the Bucs and Patriots would have to work out a trade. Here's a look at what a solid deal for both sides could look like.
I've previously suggested the Patriots should jump at the chance to acquire O.J. Howard from the Bucs. Now there's a perfect opportunity to do so. The Pats had the worst tight end group in the NFL in 2019. If Gronk wants to return to play somewhere else, this is a perfect opportunity to improve that area.
Howard has largely been a disappointment during his NFL tenure, but Bill Belichick has made a career out of getting talented guys to finally realize their potential. Howard is still only 25 and is an incredible athlete. At 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds he ran a 4.51 40 at the combine in 2017. He has good hands, runs solid routes and can get down the field. For some reason he's just never put it all together in Tampa.
If the Bucs want Gronkowski, the Pats should demand Howard in return, while also getting draft compensation. Howard and third-rounder is likely a sufficient return for Gronkowski. Given that Gronk has been out of football for a year, that's probably the best return the Pats can hope for. It's a deal Tampa would likely be willing to do because Howard would become expendable with Gronkowski on the team and a third-rounder is a fair price.
The Bucs would have Cameron Brate and Gronkowski, which would give Brady two excellent tight ends to work with. It would bolster what already looks like a loaded offense.
Gronk has one year and $10 million left on his contract, so adding him would be entirely affordable for Tampa Bay. If the 30-year-old decides he wants to play more seasons, they can work out a deal, but for now the Bucs would only be locked in to one year.