Bills ‘Hope’ TE Rob Gronkowski Finishes Career in Buffalo: Report

Rob Gronkowski bills

Getty Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to a game against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on January 09, 2022.

Ever since quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement on February 1, there’s been heavy speculation over whether or not his close friend and longtime teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski, would also hang up his cleats.

At the same, rumors have circulated that if Gronkowski does choose to play another year in the NFL, the four-time All-Pro would make the prodigal return to his hometown in upstate New York, and sign with the Buffalo Bills.

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While the betting outlet, Bookies, reported that Gronkowski has the highest odds (+550) of landing in Buffalo, the latest report from The Athletic‘s Tim Graham revealed it’s not just speculation linking the 6-foot-6 tight end to the Bills.

“Word here at the NFL Scouting Combine is that if Gronkowski wants to keep playing, the Bills still are open to adding the Amherst, N.Y., native to their offense,” Graham reported on Wednesday, March 2.

“The Bills spoke with the surefire first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer last spring but discovered he wanted to keep playing with Tom Brady, who retired last month. Gronkowski re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one year at $8 million.

“There is hope at One Bills Drive that Gronkowski would be willing to finish his career in Western New York.”

While Gronk is set to turn 33 in May, he still has some fight in him. He finished the 2021 NFL season with 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns.

NFL Analyst Says Gronk to Buffalo ‘Makes Total Sense for Both Sides’

As for what kind of contract the Bills would offer Gronkowski for the 2022 NFL season, Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti told Graham that Gronkowski is projected to receive offers paying him somewhere between $7 and $9 million a year.

“There’s a sense that a one-year, $5 million base contract, with somewhere around $5 million of incentives attached, could be a strong fit for the Bills,” Ginnitti said. “That’s lower risk up front as they assess what kind of role he may play over the course of 17-plus weeks, and they’ll be happy to add on bonus pay if things go swimmingly.”

Following The Athletic’s report, USA Today’s Brady Gelber tweeted, “#Bills interest in Gronk makes total sense for both sides. They were interested in him last year. Provides a veteran they can pair with Knox. And with Brady retired, Josh Allen is a pretty damn good option B. If Tre White can get over the incident so can #BillsMafia.”

The “incident” Gelber is referring to is Gronkowski’s nasty hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White in 2017. During the AFC East rivalry showdown between the Bills and the Patriots, White intercepted Brady’s pass while covering Gronkowski, after which the tight end dropped an elbow on White.

Adding salt to Bills fans’ wounds, Gronkowski, who was suspended one game for the hit, told Patriots Wire in January 2022 that he has zero regrets on that late hit.

“I was happy,” Gronkowski of the suspension. “I was like, ‘Yes, I’m away from football for a week. I get to recover my body.’ I mean, when you’re running full speed into people, it definitely was taking a toll on me… I lost a paycheck — it was about $300,000, that game check — and I didn’t even care one bit. I was just glad I had a week off from football because I needed it.”

But What About Tight End Dawson Knox?

The Bills’ need for a tight end is significantly less than last season with Dawson Knox having an absolute breakout season through 2021. After a stellar regular season, where the third-year receiver caught 49 receptions for 587 yards and nine touchdowns, the 25-year-old made NFL history by catching two touchdown catches in the first quarter of a playoff game.

Knox doesn’t have to worry about job security, the former third-round pick from the 2019 NFL Draft is about to enter the final year of his 4-year, $3.5 million contract with the Bills, and he should be in line for a sizable pay bump.

In fact, Knox’s game could grow and improve exponentially while working alongside the veteran tight end.

Bleacher Report‘s Tyler Conway surmised adding the veteran tight end “would be an instant luxury in an offense that already includes Dawson Knox. Adding Gronk to the mix would give the Bills far more dynamism in their two-TE sets while also lessening Gronkowski’s workload in terms of blocking.”

READ NEXT: Bills QB Named ‘Projected 2022 Starter’ for Indianapolis Colts: ESPN

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