The New England Patriots have done extremely well to move beyond the historically successful Tom Brady era and into a new one that seems poised to enjoy sustained success with Mac Jones presiding over the offense.
Before the Patriots landed the Alabama star in last year’s draft, though, it was tough sledding for the fan base.
Not only did Tom Brady spurn the team in free agency, but he convinced Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement and join him on the Buccaneers.
To rub salt in the wound, Brady and Gronk waltzed their way to a Super Bowl title and the Patriots, plagued by a free agency exodus, several opt-outs and subpar quarterback play, stumbled to a 7-9 finish.
Brady has since retired, but Bruce Arians and the Bucs aren’t going to sit idly by and let him join another team if he pulls a Brett Favre.
As for Gronkowski, the jury is still out on his NFL future. However, Arians made sure to roast the Patriots in explaining how the legendary tight end ended up in Tampa Bay during the 2020 offseason.
Bruce Arians trolled the Patriots for trading Rob Gronkowski to the Buccaneers.
Sorry not sorry, Patriots! Hand up! Arians knows he forced your hand into the kind of move he would never pull himself.
We get where Arians is coming from, but can it really be pegged as “bad business” if the move was out of the Patriots’ control? Think about it.
Gronkowski seemingly had zero intention of playing for New England again (did you see the 2020 roster?) and Bill Belichick essentially had to choose between being petty and preventing a Brady-Gronk reunion, which would’ve been detrimental to the Bucs’ championship aspirations, or getting a free mid-round draft choice for a retired player.
We don’t doubt that watching Brady and Gronk fly in the face of the “Patriot Way” en route to winning a championship was brutal for Belichick, but what did Arians want the six-time champ to do?
Given everything Gronk contributed to the Patriots’ dynasty and all the injuries he played through, Belichick owed him a solid … even though Gronk could’ve handled the situation with more grace.
Maybe we’d agree it was “bad business” if New England was regarded as a legitimate contender that season, but they had just lost franchise icon Tom Brady, saw a number of other key veterans leave in free agency and didn’t even have a QB at the time.
Remember, Cam Newton wasn’t signed until July of that offseason. The Gronk trade was made just before the draft in April.
Arians hasn’t shied away from taking shots at the Patriots (and Belichick) over the last two seasons and we respect his persistence. With that said, the Buccaneers head coach was reaching here by calling the Gronkowski trade a bad piece of business — even one that he took advantage of.
Maybe Arians should’ve done a better job convincing Brady to continue playing. For once, just focus on your own team, man.