An absolute New York Jets killer has retired for the second time in his career.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski took to Instagram to make the news official that he was walking away from the game to pursue other interests.
The future Pro Football Hall of Famer played in 16 career games against the Jets and torched them more often than not (h/t Rich Cimini of ESPN):
- 72 receptions
- 933 yards
- Nine touchdowns
Interestingly enough a former Gang Green tight end could be the replacement for Gronk in Tampa.
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That Would Be Kind of Funny
With Gronk surprisingly walking away, everyone is scrambling to find out who could replace him in the lineup.
Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus playfully suggested a polarizing former Jets tight end could be the answer to their newfound problems:
Hartitz took a screenshot of Chris Herndon’s Wikipedia page who happens to be a free agent and tagged the official Bucs Twitter account.
The 26-year-old was originally taken with the No. 107 overall pick in the fourth round out of Miami.
Herndon showed great promise during his rookie campaign in 2018 hauling in 39 receptions for 502 yards and securing four touchdowns.
He was elected to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team after his impressive debut season.
However, over the next two seasons, the athletic freak couldn’t find that same level of success. The 2019 season was lost due to a four-game suspension and a slew of injuries.
Then in 2020 Herndon played in all 16 games but his overall numbers were underwhelming with just 31 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
Looking Back at a Sweet Deal
Last offseason Jets general manager Joe Douglas was able to take advantage of a team that was desperate.
The Minnesota Vikings lost Irv Smith Jr after he underwent meniscus surgery on his knee. He suffered the injury during the preseason finale in August and missed the entire season.
Within a 24-hour timespan, the purple people eaters quickly pivoted and traded for Herndon. In that deal, they gave up a 2022 fourth-round draft choice and in return received Herndon and a 2022 sixth-round draft choice.
Douglas was lauded for getting insane value on a player that was entering the last year of his deal.
Herndon unfortunately failed to live up to the trade. He only caught four passes for 40 yards and secured just a single touchdown last season for the Vikings.
The former Miami product was in the last year of his contract and remains a free agent.
Fast forward a few months later and the Jets ended up getting the better Vikings tight end in free agency for nothing but money ($21 million) when they signed Tyler Conklin.
So all in all Gang Green got Conklin and a future fourth-round pick in exchange for Herndon and a future sixth-rounder. Not too shabby.