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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston reporter sees 49ers as ‘ideal’ landing spot if Patriots choose to trade Rob Gronkowski

Mar 29, 2018 at 10:31 PM--

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First, there was Odell Beckham Jr. trade speculation, and now we have another big name being attached to the offseason trade rumors. According to a report by Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, the New England Patriots might be looking to offload tight end Rob Gronkowski. We stress the word "might" because at this point, just like the Beckham rumors, it is all speculation.

Bedard wrote the following:

"A Bill Belichick-friendly source agreed with my thinking that once a player makes Belichick start to contemplate life without him, Belichick starts to warm to being without that player. 'He imagines you gone,' [the source] said. The longer Gronkowski goes without saying he's all in, the chances of him being traded increases, the source said."

Could the Patriots really be interested in trading their five-time Pro Bowl and five-time First-team All-Pro tight end who has been quarterback Tom Brady's favorite target for years? The Patriots' approach to next month's draft will speak volumes if the situation isn't resolved by then.

Hypothetically, where could Gronkowski land if dealt to another NFL team? Bedard added that "everyone" is in agreement that a reunion with Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco would make a lot of sense. He also mentions the Los Angeles Rams because ... the Rams are trying to acquire everyone this offseason, so why not?

Bedard continued:

"In terms of the most likely team to deal for Gronkowski, everyone agreed the 49ers would be the ideal trade partner. 'Put him back with Garoppolo, they have nothing at tight end, they have the cap space ($46 million) and maybe Lynch will overpay to make up for the deal Belichick gave him on Jimmy,' one AFC general manager said. 'And you don't have to worry about Gronk in your conference.'"

Would the 49ers be interested in trading for Gronkowski? Despite what is written in the report, tight end isn't a position of dire need for the team, but the opportunity to add an offensive weapon like Gronkowski would be difficult to pass on if he became available – especially with the division-rival Rams loading up on defense.

Following the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52, Gronkowski was noncommittal when asked by reporters about his future.

"I'm definitely going to look at my future, for sure," he said when asked about possible retirement. "I'm gonna sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I'm at."

It's been months since Gronkowski said that and his NFL future is no more apparent than it was back then, which has led to the recent trade rumors. Why would an NFL team be willing to risk giving up too much to acquire a player that might not be on the roster for the long-term?

"I think if you're willing to pay Gronk, and you're willing to go to say $12 million a year, I think he'll be playing for a while," Bedard said on NBC Sports Boston. "I would not be shocked at all if (Patriots head coach Bill) Belichick trades Gronkowski."

Gronkowski has base salaries of $8 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019. He can potentially earn $18.9 million over the next two years with New England under his current contract.

If the Patriots were to trade Gronkowski to the 49ers, general manager John Lynch and company probably won't get the same discount they received when they surrendered just a second-round pick for Garoppolo.

The Patriots made Gronkowski a second-round draft pick out of Arizona in 2010. The 28-year-old tight end has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with New England and amassed 474 receptions for 7,179 yards with 76 touchdowns.

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