Another year, more uncertainty as to whether Rob Gronkowski will continue his NFL career.
As of now, Gronkowski remains unsigned for the 2022 season and will not take part in the Buccaneers’ mandatory minicamp from June 7-9. But according to a report by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the team is “optimistic” that the legendary tight end will re-sign sometime before training camp in July.
The 33-year-old Gronkowski earned $17.25 million over the past two seasons in Tampa Bay, while also reaching $1 million in performance bonuses. Some of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL – George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews – are making between $14 and $15 million per year. The Buccaneers currently have around $10 or $12 million in salary cap space for 2022.
This offseason, Tampa Bay has not signed any veteran tight ends to the roster. The Buccaneers did take Washington’s Cade Otton and Minnesota’s Ko Kieft with middle-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, neither is expected to be competing with Gronkowski for the starting spot if he decides to sign.
Head coach Todd Bowles did not have any update on the situation during a press conference on Tuesday morning:
A Brief History of ‘Gronk’
Rob Gronkowski played nine seasons with the Patriots after New England selected him 42nd overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He won three Super Bowls with the franchise and was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro. In 115 games – 100 starts – he caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 92 touchdowns.
Following the 2018 campaign and a third Super Bowl ring, Gronkowski “retired.” He ended up missing only the 2019 season before being persuaded by Tom Brady to come to play for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay unfathomably won the Super Bowl in 2020, defeating Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Gronkowski has 100 receptions for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns over the past two years.
This offseason, Gronkowski has been hanging out with Brady. A few weeks ago, the quarterback posted a video on social media of the two taking batting practice at a local field.
The duo has a very close relationship. Gronkowski spent all nine seasons in New England with Brady, and then was asked by the G.O.A.T. to join him in Tampa Bay. If the tight end is on the fence about returning, then his status going forward is likely dependent on whether the quarterback can convince him to make another run.