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Did Rob Gronkowski Exploit Patriots' Salary Cap To Force Reunion With Brady At Buccaneers?

Rob Gronkowski has decided to cut short his retirement to join Tom Brady at the Bucs. Patriots' salary cap could have forced their hand.

Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots' decision to let Rob Gronkowski leave for Tampa Bay Buccaneers left most Patriots fans scratching their heads. The three-time Super Bowl winner opted to come out of retirement ahead of the 2020 season. However, instead of playing for the Patriots, the tight end will now reunite with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. The latest report indicates the Patriots did not have a whole lot of choice in the Rob Gronkowski traded development.

Also Read | Tom Brady To Reunite With Rob Gronkowski At Buccaneers? Bucs GM Addresses Rob Gronkowski Retirement Rumours

Rob Gronkowski traded: Did Patriots salary cap force the Brady-Gronkowski reunion?

Rob Gronkowski signed a six-year contract extension worth a reported $54 million with the Patriots in 2012. However, due to his retirement after the 2018 season, Patriots had the rights for Gronkowski should he decide to come out of retirement at any time. However, the decision would mean the Patriots would be forced to take a massive hit in the salary cap ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. Per reports, the Patriots salary cap stood at a mere $1 million which made it difficult for them to keep Gronkowski on their books.

Also Read | Rob Gronkowski Retirement Officially Over, To Reunite With Tom Brady At Buccaneers

Patriots salary cap: Rob Gronkowski retirement u-turn and Bucs move

For a star returning after a one-year hiatus, taking a $10 million cap hit reportedly proved too risky for the Patriots. Bill Belichick and co, therefore, were left with no choice but to let Gronkowski reunite with Tom Brady at Tampa Bay. The Patriots received only a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick, which suggests Buccaneers did well to capitalise on the situation to sign the tight end for the 2020 season. 

Also Read | Did Tom Brady Convince To End Rob Gronkowski Retirement Join Bucs? Rob Gronkowski salary

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers had to take the $10 million hit in cap space in order to sign Rob Gronkowski. Bucs reportedly entered the 2020 offseason with around $80 million in cap space. However, acquiring Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and other players means that the Bucs will be left with just around $5 million in cap space ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Rob Gronkowski will reportedly earn as much as $10 million while playing for the Buccaneers in the 2020 season. The 30-year-old will make $9 million guaranteed and an additional $1 million through workout bonuses. The returning Gronkowski will now be the fourth-highest earning tight end in the NFL behind the likes of Eagles’ Zach Ertz, Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and Chargers' Hunter Henry.

Also Read | Rob Gronkowski Retirement? Gronk Responds To Rumours About Him Returning To NFL To Join Tom Brady At Bucs, Rob Gronkowski Salary

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