The past few weeks in New England have been a whirlwind. With Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady both no-shows at OTAs, some believed there was discontent in the Patriots’ locker room. Things only heated up a couple weeks ago with rumors of a Gronkowski trade were swarming through the media.
Several respectable sources said at some point this offseason the Patriots were fielding calls for Gronkowski, and it almost seemed like a trade was inevitable in early June. And according to Albert Breer, the Detroit Lions were one of the teams involved in such talks.
“I don’t think they were shopping Gronk to the entire league,” Breer said last week on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “But there were some teams they trust that I know they talked to. Detroit, Tennessee, Houston, San Francisco—basic connections there.”
The Lions have done a lot to change their tight end depth chart since releasing Eric Ebron earlier this year. Through free agent additions of Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo and the expected progress of last year’s fourth-round pick Michael Roberts, Detroit is putting their faith in a lot of unproven talent.
Nabbing Gronkowski would have been a monumental move for the Lions. The Patriots tight end has led tight end in receiving yards in three of the past four seasons and has five seasons of 10+ touchdowns under his belt. The Lions already have a ton of solid receiving targets for Matthew Stafford, but none like Gronk.
However, this potential trade sounds all but dead at this point. As Breer mentions in his radio spot, whatever behind-the-scenes tension there was between Gronk and the Patriots appears to now be resolved, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft has gone on record as calling the Gronk rumors “a bunch of hogwash.”
Still, it’s very interesting to see the Lions consider making a big move like this, even if we don’t know how serious talks ever got.