Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed Tuesday to ESPN’s Adam Schefter that his client was traded to the Buccaneers.
“Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” Rosenhaus told Schefter. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”
Gronkowski, who turns 31 next month, has one year and $9 million remaining on his current deal with the Patriots. New England will receive a fourth-round pick in the NFL draft and the Buccaneers also receive a seventh-round pick in the trade, a source told Schefter.
Gronkowski already has taken his physical in Boston with a neutral physician, a source told Schefter, and is awaiting the official results. One source added to Schefter that he believes Gronkowski passed “with flying colors.”
Tampa Bay was the only place that Gronkowski was willing to play, a league source told Schefter. The Boston Herald first reported Tuesday that Gronkowski asked the Patriots to trade him to the Bucs.
Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay last month, also played a large role in the Bucs’ exploration of a trade for Gronkowski, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Gronkowski, arguably the best tight end in NFL history, announced his retirement in March 2019 after a nine-year career during which he won three Super Bowl rings and was one of the league’s most colorful personalities.
Despite his retirement, Gronkowski repeatedly said that he would not rule out a return to football and indicated that he would prefer to play with Brady.
Like Brady, Gronkowski also hasn’t played for any team besides the Patriots.
Rosenhaus indicated last year that Gronkowski had left open the possibility to return to play with Brady in New England. When Gronkowski retired, Rosenhaus told ESPN that if the “team was struggling or they needed him at some point [in 2019], and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said ‘Rob, I need you,’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games.”
Bucs general manager Jason Licht was asked about Gronkowski during his pre-draft news conference last week.
“Well, he’s doing a pretty good job with WrestleMania right now,” Licht said, referring to Gronkowski’s 24/7 title earlier this month at Wrestlemania 36.. “I have no idea if he would want to play. I’ll keep this on the draft right now because that’s like asking about another player on another roster.”
Bucs coach Bruce Arians is not known for extensive use of the tight end in the vertical passing game, but the trade is an example of how Brady’s presence could potentially be impacting Arians’ playbook. Arians and Brady have both mentioned how excited they were to be able to collaborate.
The Patriots own the No. 23 overall pick in the draft, and then don’t pick again until 87th overall, in the third round.
News of Tuesday’s trade impacted futures betting on the Buccaneers at Caesars Sportsbook, where Tampa Bay’s odds of winning the Super Bowl improved from 17-1 to 14-1. The Bucs’ odds of winning the NFC also slightly improved from 8-1 to 7-1 at Caesars.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine and Mike Reiss contributed to this report.