USA Today’s Henry McKenna ranked the Gronkowski trade the 10th-best offseason move for the Patriots. McKenna wrote:
It’s strange to think this just eked into the top 10, but in reality, this is unlikely to genuinely impact New England. The narrative will be significant if Brady and Gronk are tearing it up in Tampa. But the Patriots won’t play the Bucs. The only way New England and Tampa would face each other in 2020 would be in the Super Bowl. Gronk was likely not coming back to the Patriots in 2020, so the only way he was coming back to the game was in a trade, which the Patriots had to make for cap reasons. Gronk is one of the greatest tight ends to play the game, but this trade won’t actually change New England’s season in a big way.
The Patriots received the 139th pick in the draft. That selection was packaged with the 100th and 172nd selection and sent to the Las Vegas Raiders for the 91st and 159th picks. With those picks, the Patriots grabbed tight end Devin Asiasi from UCLA at No. 91, and kicker Justin Rohrwasser.
Asiasi projects as the Patriots’ starting tight end, and he is seen as a player with tremendous upside. When you consider the team is seemingly prepared to hand over the starting spot to a rookie at a position that has been so valuable for them over the years, it says something about Asiasi’s potential.
Rohrwasser’s Patriots career got off to a controversial start because of his controversial tattoo. Of all the current Patriots on the roster, his take on the current climate in the United States was perhaps the most interesting.
Here’s what he posted on his Instagram account at the height of the protests in the United States:
Rohrwasser has no real competition for the starting job at kicker with the Patriots, so he’ll likely play a huge role in the team’s success or failure.
Obviously, it wasn’t a direct line from Gronk to Asiasi, but when you consider the pick the Patriots picked up from the Bucs, and the part it played in drafting Asiasi, there is some optimism the deal could wind up being much bigger for the Patriots than meets the eye.
While the Patriots aren’t likely to reap massive benefits in 2020, it could easily be argued the deal brought even more promise than McKenna mentions, though his ranking is probably still solid.