New England Patriots

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 09: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts in the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

The Patriots didn’t have much leverage once Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement from football 13 months ago, decided he was done doing everything besides play professional football.

In fact, the agent for Gronkowski, Drew Rosenhaus, believes his client did the Patriots a favor with his strong-arming to Tampa Bay.

“Rob is a very classy guy with the way he handled this,” Rosenhaus offered during an interview on Tuesday’s SportsCenter on ESPN. “Rob could have come out of retirement, become reinstated, and put the Patriots in a tough situation cap-wise, but he decided not to do that. He decided to be patient and really allow this to work out.”

Without the trade with Tampa Bay, a Gronkowski reinstatement would’ve seen his $10 million contract thrown back on New England’s books, which would’ve been a complete nightmare for a Patriot squad with just over $1 million in cap space entering this week’s 2020 NFL Draft. They’re already going to need to find a way to cut from their books to sign their 2020 draft class, so they simply couldn’t afford to add another $10 million in potential ‘dead’ money should Gronkowski refuse to play for a team not quarterbacked by Tom Brady, which the Patriots indeed are after two decades of No. 12 under center.

Based on what Rosenhaus said, Gronkowski really had no desire to ‘stick it’ to the Patriots upon his return to the NFL.

He really just wanted to be back with Brady, and the idea of a new challenge with a new team was too enticing to pass up.

“He loves New England,” said Rosenhaus. “He loves the Patriots organization, Coach [Bill] Belichick, the Krafts, his teammates that are still there. He had an amazing run in New England. It was just time for him to continue his career with Tom Brady in Florida with Tampa. It was something cool and exciting and challenging for him.

“He’s well-rested and looking forward to playing with Tom.”

The 6-foot-6 Gronkowski, who passed his physical on Tuesday to make his trade to the Buccaneers official, totaled 47 catches for 682 yards and three scores in 13 games in 2018.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.