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Rob Gronkowski unretires, Patriots trade TE to Bucs [UPDATE]

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has officially unretired and been traded from the Patriots to the Buccaneers. We break down the deal.

Fox Sports broadcaster Rob Gronkowski speaks with the media during Fox Sports media day at the Miami Beach convention center. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE, April 22, 9:34 a.m.: The Gronk trade appears to have sent the Bucs fourth round pick at No. 33 in the round in exchange for the Patriots seventh round pick at No. 27 in the round.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: A trade appears to be nearly complete, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Patriots will send Gronk and a seventh round pick to the Bucs for a fourth round pick.

UPDATE 4:14 p.m.: Jay Glazer is reporting Gronk told the NFL reporter he’s already taken his physical with the Bucs. Glazer tweeted the deal is not done, but he’ll join the Bucs if they can get a deal done with the Patriots.

Retired tight end Rob Gronkowski has been playing games at times about his interest in returning to football, but the smoke is picking up. NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted on Tuesday that Gronk told the New England Patriots he’s interested in a return to football and would want to do it with the his former quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In media appearances this offseason, Gronk has left the door open for a return. It is not surprising that rumors would pick up steam with national NFL media. Of course, Gronk was under contract to the Patriots when he retired and his contract tolls while retired. New England would have to either trade Gronk or release Gronk for him to join the Bucs. The Patriots and Bucs have been talking about a trade, per Adam Schefter.

The Bucs have been looking to offload tight end O.J. Howard, and Gronk could potentially offer an upgrade. Brady already has Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw to, and Howard has underwhelmed for much of his career. Bruce Arians has never been a huge user of tight ends, but if he thinks Gronk has something left in the tank, he’s a different kind target for Brady and the offense.

The biggest issue for Gronk in recent years has been healthy. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2011, his second year in the league. His last season, in 2018, he caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. The previous season he appeared in 14 games and caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gronk would shoot up fantasy draft boards just on name recognition, but you would be best suited staying away from him. Let someone else overpay for his name and then deal with the better than even odds he is a fringe TE1 at best.