Reactions To Rob Gronkowski’s Retirement

Rob Gronkowski stepping away from football sent shockwaves through the NFL. While it wasn’t totally unexpected, it came suddenly and has left a massive hole in the Patriots’ offense. Gronkowski’s retirement will have implications well beyond what happens in New England, and reactions and additional tidbits about the retirement began pouring in soon after he made the announcement on his Instagram. We’ve compiled the best of those below:

  • Gronkowski called Patriots owner Robert Kraft to let him know of his decision earlier today, according to Mike Reiss of (Twitter link). Reiss writes that Kraft “found out not long before” Gronkowski made the social media post announcing the news himself. It sounds like New England didn’t have much advance notice, and as such not too much time to prepare for the news.
  • Gronk’s decision will give the Patriots some additional cap flexibility. The retirement will save the team around $9.5MM in cap space for this season, notes Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). New England also recently restructured the contract of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, so they have a decent amount of money to work with.
  • The Patriots reportedly “aggressively courted” tight end Jared Cook before he decided to head to New Orleans, but New England shouldn’t give up on signing Cook, writes Darin Gantt of Gantt points out that Cook still hasn’t officially signed with the Saints, and that the Patriots recently attempted to steal away Adam Humphries at the 11th hour after he had agreed to sign with the Titans. Cook reportedly chose the Saints because of the uncertainty surrounding Gronkowski, so it’s reasonable to think he could reconsider with Gronk now out of the picture.
  • With not many big name tight ends left available in free agency, the Patriots could turn to the draft to replace Gronkowski. The Patriots “immediately become a favorite for Noah Fant or Irv Smith if they’re available” when the Patriots pick at number 32 in the draft, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fant is the tight end from Iowa while Smith is from Alabama, and both could go toward the end of the first round. Miller writes he could also see the Pats taking Dawson Knox from Ole Miss in the second round.
  • Kraft and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick both released statements on Gronkowski’s retirement, which you can view here courtesy of this tweet from Adam Schefter of Both men gushed over Gronkowski, and declared him one of the best tight ends to ever play.
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47 comments on “Reactions To Rob Gronkowski’s Retirement

  1. TheTruth12

    I think to outsiders Gronk retiring is a bigger deal than it actually is, while he’s a hall of famer, and will be hard to replace we have plenty of experience playing without him. As long as we get a better option than our current ones we’ll be fine

    • stug14

      I agree. While his body of work sets him apart among TEs, he wasn’t quite at that level last year. So the drop off won’t be quite as drastic as people think.

      • 2012orioles

        He was too dominant in his short time. He’s a hall of famer. And I hate anything Boston sports

      • pasha2k

        Sip, you’re a Pat hater n the green eyed monster has blurred your vision. Gronk is a HOFer n deservedly so. I always enjoyed watching him perform st his high level n very hard to replace. It always was him n Brady all the way!

      • He set (or came close to) a couple of records for tight ends. And basically from 2011 to 2017 he was the most dominant tight end in the game (Ertz and Kelce didn’t really start dominating until the past two years and Graham was mainly a redzone threat) and arguably a top 5-10 receiving threat (counting WRs and RBs). And while he was basically piggybacking off of how Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates revolutionzed the position, Gronk continued that evolution of the tight end position by showing that a tight end could become the focal point and #1 option on a good team.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Fan of both Tony and Antonio but my version of NFL history has Mike Ditka as the prototype for the modern TE.

      • Macburns

        Ask the Chiefs, Rams, Steelers, Seahawks, Eagles, Broncos, Colts, etc, if he’s a HOFer. Duh.

      • Clevelandallday

        He’s a hall of gamer. Not a New England fan but mad respect for what Gronk has done in a short career.

        • cka2nd

          He’s actually been in the league nine years, which really isn’t a short career by any standard except that of some of the exceptionally long-lasting tight ends of the last two decades. And for previous eras, Gronk’s career wouldn’t look all that unusual in its length.

          Kellen Winslow, Sr., for instance, who in his day some also argued was the best tight end to ever play the position, also only played nine years in the NFL. And while Mike Ditka played 12 years back in the 60’s and 70’s, he was a full-time starter for only seven of those years, and caught no more than 36 passes the last eight years of his career. That same era’s John Mackey – who still gets my vote as the best TE ever – was reduced to part-timer and back-up the last two years of his 10-year career.

    • slpdajab55

      Gates, Gonzales, Whitten , Sharpe, … all HOF … Gronk didn’t play long enough. Also was dependent on 1 QB … one of the best QBs ever … he would be Charles Clay otherwise.

      • cka2nd

        Gates and Gonzalez benefited from some pretty fine quarterbacking, too. And where they had four and three seasons, respectively, of 10 or more TD’s, Gronk had five, one of them with 17 TD’s, a remarkable number for a tight end of any era.

        I am a big fan of some of the old tight ends, like John Mackey, Jackie Smith, Charlie Sanders, Dave Casper and the underappreciated Riley Odoms, and even I have to put Gronk in the HoF and among the top two or three TE’s ever. Gronk was like a lot of the tight ends of earlier eras, too, in that his career was shortened by injuries, and their effectiveness was burnt out of them after a relatively short run of years – six or so, for many of them – by the physical demands of blocking and receiving.

          • cka2nd

            Newsome is the most overrated tight end ever. 13 years and only three Pro Bowl nods, one of which was also his single All-Pro season. The last five years of his career, he was only average, with under 40 receptions and an average of two TD’s a a season. A career average of about 14 catches per TD scored, which is a slower pace than Winslow’s 12, considerably slower than Ditka’s 10 and Mackey’s 9, and not even half as good as Gronk’s 6.6! And some of these guys were superb blockers, which Newsome most assuredly was not.

            I rank Newsome behind those four men, as well as Gonzalez, Gates, Casper, Sanders, Jackie Smith and Riley Odoms, who had one more Pro Bowl and one more All-Pro season in a career only one year shorter than Newsome’s, and if I dug around a bit more in the records, I can pretty much guarantee you that Newsome would fall a few more places. Newsome was a prolific receiver and put up some good ypc averages earlier in his career, but beyond the sheer number of catches, his stats really aren’t all that impressive.

            Frankly, his accomplishments as a personnel guy and general manager have done more to justify his being in the Hall of Fame to me than his on-field accomplishments.

      • Tha Dilla
        Tha Dilla

        you put gronk on the cowboys during that time he still would be a hof player.

    • jessethegreat

      This hurts the Patriots, but they’re as good as any team in the league to adapt to departures. Bill is generally one to dump a guy a year early so it makes complete sense that they were trying to trade Gronk last year.

      I think the biggest thing is that it makes the Patriots offense more of an unknown for the opposing teams defense now. Gronk was the best receiver on the field so you knew the ball was going to him. Now it’s anyone’s guess who gets the 3rd down passes.

      • The issue now is that the Patriots don’t have a reliable option to stretch the field. Gronk clearly lost a step last season which caused the Patriots to make the trade for Gordon to help create space for Edelman, White, and Gronk.

    • cka2nd

      Better yet, sign Cook and then the Saints trade for Rudolph, allowing him to join Bridgewater, Easton, Sherels and Line. Then the Saints win the Super Bowl – with Bridgewater starting in place of an injured Drew Brees – and the collective wail of Vikings fans – and the “I told you so’s” of some of us – will be heard all over the country.

  2. nentwigs

    What about a call to the Governor about a work release program for Aaron Hernandez???

  3. Yep it is

    Massive Hole? The guy plays 10 games a year and wasn’t productive last year.

  4. driftcat28

    Sad day in Pats nation. Definitely going to miss Gronk but he’s earned going out on top as a champion and greatest TE in history. Who knows, maybe around week 10, if there’s an injury or a need to get over a hump, Gronk may get the itch to come back for a few games

  5. Guest617

    Everyone here would make the same decision. Take money, chiseled body and enjoy life. Gonna miss his endzone spike

    • crosseyedlemon

      Nothing wrong with going out a winner. Don’t know what his future plans are but it would be fun to see him in a GRONKINATOR movie doing a parody of Schwarzenneger.

  6. mgrap84

    While i do think Brady will miss him its really not that big of a loss. How many games and Rings did they win without him? Im not a Patriots fan in fact a really could careless about them but as a fan of football, they always find away to get the best out of anyone they put on that field. They will completely fine without him. Max Williams is a good TE who is still a FA. Ravens didnt get him to reach his potential but if he signs with the Patriots, guarantee he turns into a top 10 TE

  7. troll_smasher

    It’s so funny how people say “it’s really not that big of a loss”. When teams game plan around a certain player, often times using double team, then that player leaves, it frees up a defender to be used to double someone else. There’s a reason Edelman kept getting that single coverage in the SB, but it guessing it wasn’t b/c of Chris Hogan. I’m sure they’ll find other ways to win, but it’s still a big loss for that offense.

    • crosseyedlemon

      It probably would be a big loss for some teams but you don’t survive in a professional sports league as long as Belichick has without knowing how to compensate for lost talent.

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