One of the more annoying things about the NFL offseason is reading about rumors and suggestions in which general managers should trade certain players. The most annoying rumor regarding the New England Patriots is the notion that Nick Caserio should trade Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk should not be traded under any circumstance. Simply put, he is the best tight end in the league when healthy. He recorded 39 receptions, 592 yards and four touchdown receptions in seven games during the 2013 regular season. That line is passable for a tight end when it comes to an entire season, but Gronkowski could have had much more production. If extrapolated over a 16-game season, Gronkowski’s numbers would have projected like this: 89 receptions, 1,353 yards and nine touchdown receptions.
What sets Gronkowski apart from other elite tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis is Gronkowski’s ability to block. Gronkowski is used as a blocker much more than Graham and Davis as the other two often line up as wide receivers. While Gronkowski lines up as a wide receiver here and there, his ability to be a classic two-way tight end sets him apart from the rest.
So now we come to Gronkowski’s major flaw: Injuries. After battling multiple back and forearm surgeries headed into the 2013 season, Gronkowski found himself in yet another situation in which he must overcome a major injury. This time it is a torn ACL, an injury that often zaps a player’s explosiveness the season after suffering it.
Nevertheless, Gronkowski will only be 25 in May. He was close to his same old self in 2013, though it remains to be seen if Gronkowski will be the same in 2014. Until then, nobody can really say if or how the injury will affect him. Therefore, Gronkowski must be still be considered the best tight end in the NFL until further notice.
And that is why Caserio should not trade Gronkowski. You simply do not trade such a young player who has not hit his prime yet and is the best player at his position. Those types of guys are key to helping you win championships, so there is no way that Caserio could justify trading away such a player.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.