Take these reports for what they're worth. But when they're about Rob Gronkowski possibly hitting the trade block, it's smoke that's worth sniffing around for fire.
Despite a new report that Gronkowski is set to return to the Patriots in 2018, the same news came with the acknowledgment of "lingering frustrations" between the All-World tight end and head coach Bill Belichick. Does that mean that Belichick could actually consider moving on from Gronkowski before the 2018 season, now that there's even a possibility that he's not necessarily fully committed to football?
Well, it sounds like Belichick is at least going to get some calls. Albert Breer of The MMQB tweeted on Monday that a couple of teams told him at last week's league meeting in Orlando that they're preparing trade offers for Gronkowski, and they plan on making them.
On the surface, it's a borderline useless report. No offense to Breer, who isn't necessarily reporting "fake news" here. But even if teams are preparing offers and plan to call the Patriots, that doesn't mean Belichick is going to answer the phone - let alone give them serious consideration.
Then again, it would behoove Belichick to at least see what teams are willing to offer for Gronk. If there's multiple first-round picks involved, perhaps a high pick in this year's draft, then maybe it's something he'd think about. It's intriguing that these calls would even take place for a player like Gronk.
But it can't be stressed enough, once again, that this is Rob Gronkowski who's being discussed as a possible trade candidate. It would be exceptionally hard for Belichick to get commensurate value for a player of Gronk's caliber in a trade - perhaps impossible. Also, remember how "close" Malcolm Butler was to getting traded to the Saints? These rumors could all turn out to be nothing whatsoever.
Still, it appears that teams are at least starting to circle around the Patriots with dreams of prying arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL from them. But based on all the other reports surrounding Gronk - that he's working out at TB12, that he's expected to keep playing, that he wants to be a Patriot as long as Tom Brady is around - those other clubs may have to keep dreaming.
-- 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 [email protected].