By Sterling Pingree
Raise your hand if you know one thing for certain about the New England Patriots at the moment you’re reading this. You might have raised you hand and if you did you’re a more confident person than I because with the constant stream of “news”, leaked information and anonymous sources, this has been the wildest off season in team history and the Patriots are an organization that found out that their tight end murdered people.
The Friday afternoon rumor that a Rob Gronkowski trade, though ultimately shot down by Tom E. Curran and Mike Giardi, was alarming for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, the trading of the third most important asset in the organization (not counting Robert Kraft, Happy belated Birthday sir) would be a nuclear story. A Gronkowski trade would be the most shocking trade of a star athlete in Boston sports history. The only rivals are Nomar to the Cubs, Manny to the Dodgers, Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn and Bourque to the Avalanche.
Manny and Nomar were slow burns to eventual divorce, Bourque chased a cup and had the blessing of the entire region. KG and Pierce to Brooklyn was more of a separation, a divorce because of some weird tax break or something that was going to profit everybody, but even after the trade we were still cool. PP and KG didn’t have to through a rebuild and the Celtics got enough first rounders to arm them for the next 12-15 years. (We hope.)
A trade of Gronkowski would be the most shocking trade because the last time we saw him play football, all #87 did was haul in 9 passes for 116 yards and 2 touch downs. In case you forgot, that was in the Super Bowl. At age 29, Gronk is probably on the backside of his prime, but a prime that has been the most dominant the position has ever seen. The only names in the argument amongst the greatest tight ends in history are Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Jason Witten and John Mackey. For the most part that list is made up of guys who were good, dependable, short pass catchers for a long time. Gronk has been plagued by injuries but when healthy, is better than the best.
The question I’ve gotten most from stunned Pats fans over the last several hours is, “What could you even get for Gronk?” My answer is, I hope to never find out, because in the NFL, it would never be enough.
I was relieved to hear that there was nothing to this rumor, but I’ll be more relieved if the team announces that they have finished restructuring Gronkowski’s contract after rumors came out over two weeks ago that the sides were close to a new agreement. Though even if that does happen, the way this off season has been, there will inevitably be another fire.
How many days until the season opener with Houston?
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.Com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.