Florio points out that Gronkowski made the decision to declare publicly that he was to return to for the 2018 season two days before the draft, so it’s possible that New England shut down trade talks at that point in time.
According to Florio, it’s unknown whether the Patriots wanted to trade Gronkowski or if a deal was ever close. Florio adds that some think the Patriots were hoping to obtain assets to trade up for QB Baker Mayfield before it became clear that the Browns were set on taking him at No. 1 overall.
Trade rumors surfaced last week involving Gronkowski, but they’ve been widely refuted.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft referred to the rumor as “hogwash” on Tuesday.
“I guess when your team is good, people are looking for things, and I’ll just tell you it’s a bunch of hogwash that I vetoed some trade,’’ Kraft said, via the Boston Globe. “That was never in the works; it’s just completely made up.
“And I think we have to be careful in society today — people can’t just come out and say things. And this bit about us trading Gronk to the 49ers or Tennessee . . . there’s no basis to it and it gets a life of its own.
“I just wanted to go on record at today’s event to make sure that you all understand that there’s no truth to that.’’
Gronkowski, 28, is a former second-round pick of the Patriots back in 2010. He is in the sixth year of his eight-year, $55.23 million contract that included $13.17 million guaranteed.
Gronkowski has outplayed this contract by a mile and was one of the most underpaid players in the NFL. He was set to make base salaries of $8 million (2018) and $9 million (2019) over the remainder of the contract when he agreed to a restructured contract last summer.
The Patriots added some incentives to Gronkowski’s contract last year that allowed him to make $10.1875 million for the 2017 season. As of now, Gronkowski stands to earn $8.91 million for the 2018 season.
In 2017, Gronkowski appeared in 14 games and caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards receiving and eight touchdowns for the Patriots.
We’ll have more regarding Gronkowski as the news is available.