Rob Gronkowski threatens to walk away from Bucs, Tom Brady in NFL free agency

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The Buccaneers have so far done an excellent job retaining their key free agents, giving wide receiver Chris Godwin the franchise tag and signing edge rusher Shaq Barrett and linebacker Lavonte David each to long-term extensions.

If it seems like they’re getting the band back together, one would expect Rob Gronkowski to be the next domino to fall, as he has expressed interest in returning and has never played for a quarterback other than Tom Brady. But if you ask him, he’s not so certain.

“I definitely want to be back with the Buccaneers. That’s where my eyesight is. That’s where I’m leaning toward, big time,” Gronkowski said on the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast. “But with the free agency process, you just never know what may happen. There’s some other teams interested out there, too. I’ve also never been a part of the free-agency process, so I actually want to dip my toes in, just to see what’s out there.”

Gronkowski followed up by repeating that he does want to return to the Bucs, but mentioned that he has never been a free agent and isn’t even sure what the process is like.

Rob Gronkowski celebrates after winning the Super Bowl.
Rob Gronkowski celebrates after winning the Super Bowl.
Getty Images

“I want to be a free agent every year, so if I dip my toes in this year, see what’s out there, see how it works, even if I do go back to the Bucs … I’ll know how free agency works and I’ll know how teams come after you. Then I’ll have that much more of an advantage every single year,” Gronkowski said.

If he were to test the free agency waters, however, he could end up getting a monster offer somewhere else. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the salary cap, players have been getting big deals – notably from Gronkowski’s old team, the Patriots, who gave tight end Jonnu Smith and edge rusher Matthew Judon deals worth over $50 million each.

Gronkowski had a solid first season with the Bucs, catching 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win over the Chiefs.

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