The 2022 NFL free agency period is off and running at a furious pace. As players continue to sign during free agency, predictions for TE Rob Gronkowski continue to be discussed. Which teams in need of additional pass-catching help could benefit from acquiring Gronkowski in free agency?
Predictions for Rob Gronkowski in 2022 NFL free agency
Is Gronkowski the same player he was back in 2014? Of course not, but he was great when on the field last year. In 2021, Gronkowski had his best season since 2017 despite missing five games. Accounting for 17.2% of Tampa Bay’s targets (89), Gronk had 55 receptions, 802 yards, and 6 touchdowns.
He was a significant red-zone threat as he has been his entire career. Gronkowski helped bridge the gap in games where Mike Evans and the newly re-signed Chris Godwin were inactive. Given the value of a top-tier tight end in today’s NFL, should Gronkowski play in 2022, there should be no shortage of teams vying for his services.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Look, if Gronk plays anywhere else, I will be floored. He has spent his entire NFL career playing with Tom Brady, and there is no other team he could play with where the chemistry will be the same. After all, of Brady’s 624 regular-season touchdowns, 92 (14.7%) have been to Gronkowski.
Before Brady announced he was un-retiring, I had Gronkowski projected to be sipping Mai Tais on the beach. With Brady back, the Buccaneers have to be the prohibitive favorites amongst predictions on where one of the top-three tight ends of all time will play in 2022. He’s just making Brady sweat as he did to him for a few months.
According to Tim Graham of The Athletic, the Buffalo Bills are interested in bringing Gronkowski back to the AFC East. It would be a trip back home as Gronk is from Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. A year ago, the Bills were reportedly interested in Gronkowski, but he returned to Brady and Tampa.
It’s not that the TE position is a glaring need for the Bills. They have Dawson Knox, who had a career-best season with 9 touchdowns and 587 yards. Yet, would anyone in Bills Mafia oppose giving Josh Allen another red-zone target? I doubt it. The only prediction I feel good about is Gronk going to Tampa Bay, but this is a fun one to consider.
Why not ask Gronkowski himself who he might want to play with if not for Brady?
“I kind of like this young buck quarterback. He’s in the Super Bowl now: It’s Joe Burrow, man,” said Gronkowski. “I watched him in college. I just love the way he presents himself out on the football field. In the pocket, he’s just so calm, and he just slings it out on the field.
“I just love his swag, too,” he added. “If I had to pick a quarterback, it’d be the young buck, Joe Burrow. He’s killing it right now in the game.”
Well, I’d say that is pretty definitive. Can you blame him? Burrow is the real deal, as are the Bengals. While they did sign Hayden Hurst in free agency to replace C.J. Uzomah, you can’t give Burrow too many weapons. Added with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon, the Bengals would have one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.
It’s a new era in Denver with the trade of Russell Wilson. In part of the massive package sent to acquire Wilson was TE Noah Fant. Albert Okwuegbunam is expected to fill his role as a move TE but is a somewhat unproven asset.
Why not take a look at Gronkowski in what is clearly a win-now window for Denver? It would also give the Broncos one of the biggest lineups in the NFL in the red zone with Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick at 6’4″, Okwuegbunam at 6’5″, and Gronk at 6’6″. The AFC West is already bonkers. Why not add a little more fuel to the fire?