By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Robert Kraft may have dismissed aspects of the rampant Rob Gronkowski trade rumors as pure "hogwash". But that doesn't mean the New England Patriots hadn't discussed a potential Gronk deal at some point.
Following up reports by NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran and Mike Giardi that the Pats had Gronk on the trade block earlier in the offseason, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported on Wednesday that they called other teams about a possible Gronkowski trade as recently as three days before the NFL Draft.
That would mean the date of the trade discussion was April 23 - one day before Gronkowski announced via Instagram that he met with Bill Belichick to tell the head coach he's committed to playing for the Patriots in 2018. Gronkowski also held a bizarre press conference that previous Saturday, April 21, that drew negative reactions after he gave a series of flippant responses to questions about his commitment to the Patriots.
Kraft strongly denied certain parts of the Gronkowski trade rumors that emerged last Friday - particularly those from freelancer Adam Kurkijian, who stood by his reporting in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Monday. The Patriots owner shot down the report, which said in part that deals were in place with the 49ers and Titans, that Tom Brady threatened to retire if a deal went through, and that the owner nixed a deal before it was made.
A Gronkowski trade may not have been close, and - all due respect to Kurkjian, who insists he got confirmation from multiple sources after the fact - the other parts seem more like Patriots fan-fiction. Prominent national reporters like Adam Schefter, who is as plugged-in as anyone with the Patriots, have avoided reporting anything on the rumors, which according to multiple reports last Friday had "zero truth" to them.
However, that doesn't mean that Gronk trade talks weren't had earlier in the offseason. Based on what went on in the days leading up to the draft, it should surprise no one that calls were made - and it should also be a relief that a deal didn't go through, because the Patriots may have been selling low on the prized tight end at that point.
Gronkowski and the Patriots are not only committed to each other for 2018, they're continuing to work on a "likely" but not imminent contract extension. The fact that Gronk didn't hold out of mandatory minicamp, which several other stars around the NFL are doing, is at least a somewhat promising sign for where the tight end stands with the team right now.
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].
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