Rob Gronkowski set to come out of retirement, reunite with Tom Brady in trade to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowski wants to play football again.

More specifically, he wants to continue playing with Tom Brady.

And it appears he’ll get his wish.

The 30-year-old is set to come out of retirement in conjunction with a trade that will send his contractual rights from New England to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones. The Buccaneers, of course, signed Brady in March.

“Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” Rosenhaus said in a text message. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”

ESPN and NFL Network were the first outlets to report the deal.

According to the two outlets, the Patriots agreed to send Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-rounder, pending a physical.

News of the proposed trade — and Gronkowski’s impending return — came a little more than 48 hours before the start of this year’s NFL draft, which is slated to begin Thursday night.

Gronkowski had repeatedly left open the possibility of an NFL return, even as he dabbled in startup ventures, media engagements and, most recently, professional wrestling. Coincidentally, he was asked Monday whether there were any active discussions about him reuniting with Brady in Tampa.

“You want to know what’s so great man? The day that I retired, within 24 hours there was already rumors that I was coming out of retirement,” Gronkowski said during an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”

“I’m feeling good right now, I’m happy where I’m at. And you just never know, man. You just never know. You never know. I’m not totally done.”

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Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was asked earlier this month about the possibility of acquiring Gronkowski and noted that the Patriots still hold the five-time Pro Bowl tight end’s rights.

“Well, he’s doing a pretty good job with WrestleMania right now,” Licht said a little less than two weeks ago. “I have no idea if he would want to play.”

Now, it appears that question has been answered.

While it might seem unusual, there is some precedent for this type of move. In 2017, running back Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement and was traded from Seattle to Oakland.

Contact Tom Schad at or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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