The Patriots have a really good reason for being uncertain about Rob Gronkowski’s plans for 2019. He hasn’t told anyone if he plans to play next season.
Bill Belichick isn’t a coach who panics in response to any situation, but the Patriots’ boss would probably like to know whether or not he can count on Rob Gronkowski next season. Unfortunately for Belichick and everyone else in New England, the star tight end hasn’t informed anyone about his future plans.
According to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, the prolific receiver “hasn’t made a decision yet.” That isn’t great news for a Patriots front office that is hard at work crafting their offseason plans. If Gronkowski does elect to depart or retire, New England will need to find a receiver capable of filling is hole in the offense.
Notice, we didn’t say it would necessarily be a tight end. Replacing Gronkowski with another tight end with his same skill set would be practically impossible. His combination of size and speed make him a unicorn of sorts at the position. Even if the Patriots were willing to use a high draft pick or spend big money on a new tight end to replace Gronkowski, there isn’t a guy out there with the skills to fill his shoes.
It’s very possible the Patriots could choose to spend those resources on a top-flight wide receiver capable of forging a real bond with Tom Brady instead. New England would still need to acquire a starting tight end, but they could look for a more traditional option than what Gronkowski gave them at the position. Finding a wideout capable of filling his void in the passing game could be a much easier mission for the Pats.
Of course, it’s still entirely possible that Gronkowski is just being dramatic and ultimately, he’ll return for at least one more season with Brady and company. His Hall of Fame quarterback will certainly want him to keep playing as long as he extends his career on the gridiron.