New England Patriots

The ongoing saga of Rob Gronkowski’s future in New England appears to be over – for a year.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport gave an update on Gronkowski’s situation on Wednesday, reporting that the “expectation” is for Gronk to stay with the Patriots for the 2018 season. He did briefly “ponder” retirement and discuss possibly switching to a career in WWE or even Hollywood.

He may yet end up with a career in those venues, but the transition is not expected to happen this year.

“The belief now is that those things will come after his football career,” Rapoport told the NFL Network on Wednesday. “The belief now is that Rob Gronkowski will continue his football career with the Patriots. … Right now, I have not talked to one person who believes Rob Gronkowski will retire. The expectation is he’s back in a New England Patriots uniform in 2018.”

Rumors have swirled around Gronkowski’s immediate future and potential retirement since Super Bowl Sunday. The reports only got more and more ominous. And NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran had perhaps the most ominous report yet, when he said that Gronk was not happy during the 2017 season and that the Patriots’ atmosphere and football’s physical toll is “starting to wear on him.”

Apparently, it’s not wearing enough on him to make him retire.

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Gronk earned $10.75 million last season after maximizing his incentives. He can earn another $8 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019, barring a new deal with the Patriots.

Cynics will point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean Bill Belichick won’t trade Gronkowski during the offseason. There’d be no better way to recoup draft picks, anyway. You really never know with Belichick. But ultimately, that would be an even bigger shocker than Gronk retiring. Expect the tight end to still be catching passes from Tom Brady next season.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.