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Bucs Acquire Gronkowsi From Patriots; TE Will Reunite With Brady In Tampa
Rob Gronkowski is ready to return to the NFL. ... But not with the Patriots

Gronk, who is planning to un-retire and facilitate a trade to the Buccaneers, will be packaged along with a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick, according to multiple reports.

While those reports are stipulating the deal is done "pending physical," Gronk told his fellow FOX Sports employee Jay Glazer that he already took his physical for the Bucs. Physicals have been the holdup for some players this offseason thanks to the coronavirus shutdown, but Gronkowski and the Buccaneers apparently found a doctor who was ready to go (and reports indicate he passed that physical) .

And further confirmation from Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who texted ESPN: “Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season. He will honor his current contract at this time.”

That contract has one year remaining at a $9 million salary. He also has per-game roster bonuses of $750,000 and a $250,000 workout bonus, pushing his total potential compensation to $10 million.

Whatever the case, Gronk will be playing in Tampa Bay this season.

As ESPN's Adam Schefter reminded his Twitter followers, two years ago before the draft, the Patriots agreed to trade Gronkowski to the Lions, but Gronk informed them he’d opt for retirement over playing with a QB other than Brady.

According to ESPN's Jeff Darlington, who is very well-connected with Brady's camp, Gronk reuniting with Brady -- wherever Brady ended -- always felt like a real scenario behind the scenes. "I can’t understate the appreciation, on and off the field," Darlington wrote, "they have for each other. Gronk was done with the Patriots. ... But he never wanted to be done catching TDs from Brady."

Now after a year of retirement, the wheels are in motion.

Remember, Gronkowski, 30, retired ahead of the 2019 season after eight seasons with New England.

During his Patriots career, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection. He caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 scores, establishing himself in his prime as the game's best tight end and arguably the most talented player at the position in NFL history.

Indeed, the 78 TD passes from Brady to Gronkowski are most in the NFL from 2010-18 and twice as many as Brady has thrown anyone else.

Injuries were an issue for Gronk, however, as he missed 29 games in his career and 13 games in his last three seasons alone. After posting double-digit touchdown receptions in five of his first six seasons, he had a total of 14 touchdowns between the 2016-18 campaigns. The last we saw Gronkowski, in 2018, he dealt with back and Achilles injuries and struggled when he was on the field. He finished with 47 catches for 682 receiving yards and only three touchdowns in 13 games. His 52.5 yards per game were his fewest since his rookie season in 2010.

All that said, given the history Brady and Gronk share, viewing this as anything less than an intriguing move from a fantasy perspective would be a mistake.

And not just in terms of Brady and Gronkowski. Remember, the two join a pretty solid cast that already included Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate -- although recent reports indicated that Howard has been shopped to potential trade partners in recent weeks.

Now we have a better understanding of why.