Freelance reporter Adam Kurkjian’s story goes like this: The Patriots had a trade in place for Rob Gronkowski.
Per Kurkjian, the Patriots had offers from both San Francisco and the Titans, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick brought this update to team owner Robert Kraft for a closed doors meeting. It was apparently during that meeting that word got back to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady then intervened and threatened to retire if Belichick and the Patriots followed through on such a trade. That made Kraft, not wanting to lose Brady in addition to Gronkowski, ultimately nix the deal.
The report was refuted by most, including Patriots PR head Stacey James.
Kurkjian, who said that he developed his trustworthy sources during his time with the Boston Herald, meanwhile, stood by his reporting during a Monday appearance with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich.
But speaking on Tuesday, Kraft himself shot the report down as much as one could.
“I guess when your team is good people are looking for things,” Kraft, speaking with reporters at the Myra Kraft Community MVP event, began. “I’ll just tell you it’s a bunch of hogwash that I vetoed some trade.
“That was never in the works. It’s just completely made up.”
In a drama-filled offseason, Kraft also expressed his frustration with what he considers to be irresponsible reporting.
“I think we have to be careful in society today that people can’t just come out and say things like this bit about us trading Gronk to the 49ers or Tennessee,” Kraft added. “There’s no basis to it and it gets a life of its own. I just want to go on record at today’s event to make sure that you all understand that there’s no truth that. People shouldn’t be able to do that.”
Although he was not at the since-canceled OTAs this week, the Patriots and Gronkowski reportedly continue to work on a restructuring the tight end’s current contract, which comes with an $8 million base salary in 2018 and $9 million base in 2019.
The 29-year-old Gronkowski caught 69 passes in 15 games last season, totaling 1,084 yards with eight touchdowns.