The Detroit Lions nearly traded for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski before the season. What would that have looked like?
The New England Patriots are continuing their postseason dominance in 2018, but things could have looked a bit different had things gone a bit differently this offseason.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported on Sunday that tight end Rob Gronkowski is considering retirement again after the 2018 season. The 29-year-old had contemplated retiring last season, but also had reportedly threatened to call it quits when the Patriots were considering trading him to the Detroit Lions.
The Patriots obviously made the decision to keep Gronkowski and help him finish his career in New England. However, what would have happened if that trade had actually gone through, and Gronk decided to play with a new team?
Matthew Stafford very clearly needed an impact tight end this season, and Gronkowski would’ve made a big impact on the passing game. However, like we’ve seen years prior, Gronk probably wouldn’t have been able to stay healthy. He hasn’t been able to play all 16 games since 2011, his second season in the league.
It wouldn’t been a reunion of sorts for Gronkowski to play with Matt Patricia, but the Lions were still very bad this season at 6-10. By the end of the year, Gronk probably would’ve been shut down for his long-term health, and the Lions would’ve likely sacrificed some serious draft capital for the upcoming offseason.
At the end of the day, the trade would have made the Lions offense a bit more fun to watch, but it probably would’ve have led to a significant increase in wins. It also would’ve stunted the rebuild for Patricia and his new team, and Gronkowski would likely still be mulling retirement for the second straight offseason.
It’s definitely interesting to think about what would have happened if this trade had gone through, but at the end of the day, I’m sure both sides are happy with the decision not to go through with this.