Rob Gronkowski Retirement: Roster Outlook for Patriots Offense

rob gronkowski retiring

Getty Rob Gronkowski is retiring.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced his retirement after a 9-year career. He announced his intentions via Instagram, which was picked up by several outlets.

He caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards in his career, including 78 touchdowns. He also played on Super Bowl Champions in 2019, 2017 and 2015. He is regarded by many as one of the best tight ends to ever play the game.

Gronkowski played collegiately at the University of Arizona, compiling 75 catches for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2 full seasons with the Wildcats. The Patriots drafted him with the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

New England will have to replace that massive production this offseason, as Tom Brady has lost one of his main targets. Here’s a quick outlook on the remaining weapons in Brady’s arsenal.

New England Patriots Roster Outlook

Tom Brady threw for 4,355 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year. Just 52 of those yards come from the remaining tight ends on the depth chart, and all of them came from Jacob Hollister. The only others at the position are strictly blocking types in Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo.

This puts the onus of current wide receiver Julian Edelman, the Super Bowl LIII MVP. He caught 74 passes for 850 yards last season. That’s solid production for a slot receiver, but that’s not No. 1 target material.

That job theoretically falls on the shoulders of Josh Gordon. However, the embattled wideout is currently under an indefinite suspension from the NFL due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon also has publicly stated his issues with mental health.

The suspension announcement came a short time after Gordon revealed he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health.

“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level,” Gordon wrote in a statement. “I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach (Bill) Belichick, (Patriots owner) Mr. (Robert) Kraft, as well as countless others with the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path to getting back to 100 percent.”

If Gordon earns reinstatement, he is a tremendous boost to the offense. In 11 games last season, Gordon compiled 40 catches for 720 yards with three touchdowns. In 2013, he posted 1,646 yards and 9 scores for the Browns.

It’s been reported that the Patriots are “aggressively pursuing” Gronkowski’s replacement. They made a run at Jared Cook at the beginning of free agency, but missed out after he signed with the Saints.

Caleb Wilson (UCLA TE) vs. Texas A&M (2017)2018-06-10T01:33:37.000Z

With a handful of picks in the later rounds, this could lead someone like UCLA’s Caleb Wilson to come to New England. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder is the No. 4 tight end in the draft class per, and is an excellent downfield threat. He recorded 60 catches for 965 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 for the Bruins.

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