Rob Gronkowski is back in the headlines today following the announcement that the Patriots had traded the “retired” tight end to the Buccaneers. My son’s first comment was to point out that the Bucs didn’t have to give up a fourth-round pick because the Pats had no salary cap room for Gronk and would have cut him.
Gronk has made it clear he wants to play with Tom Brady, so the reunion in Tampa isn’t a huge surprise. I doubt the all-pro tight end would have come out of retirement to play for the Patriots – Brady, or no Brady. Apparently, there is some bad blood between Gronk and Bill Belichick, so the Patriots got what they could in the deal.
Jesse Reed of Sportsnaut went off the deep end yesterday, posting a story concluding that the addition of Gronk in Tampa made the Bucs a serious Super Bowl contender. I wonder if Reed recalls Gronk’s final season with the Pats, when he was a shell of his former self. He’s only 30, but he has a lot of miles on him.
After he capped off 2018 with a Super Bowl victory, Gronkowski made the decision to retire. He’s toyed with the idea of making a return in 2019, but the rumors were exaggerated. Since retirement, Gronk seemed to be enjoying himself. He joined FOX Sports as an analyst and hosted WestleMania. He even appeared on “The Masked Singer.”
Even if Gronk somehow returns to his former glory days, that won’t fix the Bucs secondary. While Tampa found a way to stop most running games, their secondary has been terrible. They gave up 500 passing yards to Jared Goff last October. Maybe they’ll get better under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
But unless you live in the Tampa Bay area, you probably aren’t interested in whether the Bucs can win a Super Bowl, or not. What you want to know is whether Gronk can come out of retirement and be a premier fantasy tight end. Based on the early ADP rankings, the experts don’t believe he can do it.
FantasyPros already has its new 2020 rankings up, with the unretired Gronkowski going as the tenth tight end off the board. If these rankings hold up (and they won’t), he would be drafted right behind Tyler Higbee and ahead of Jared Cook. I would guess the reason for the low ranking is the inherent injury risk.
As fantasy players know, drafting players is all about value. If you fill your team with undervalued players in the later rounds, you will fare well in league play. But if you overpay for players, you will not win. That doesn’t mean you won’t make draft mistakes, but you can’t afford to make mistakes in the early rounds.
With the tight end position being something of a no-man’s land in recent years, I would certainly take Gronk as the 10th tight end off the board. His current ADP is 92 overall, which means he could be drafted in the ninth or even early in the 10th round. However, I expect Gronk will begin creeping up on the draft boards.