The Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain focused on preparing for the upcoming 2022 NFL season. Now that rookie mini-camp and OTAs are out of the way, the Bucs are starting mandatory mini-camp today, but will do so without tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Gronkowski saga has gone on all offseason, and it appears it isn’t ending anytime soon. Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers remain, “optimistic [Gronkowski] will re-sign with the team sometime before it reports to training camp in late July.”
The Buccaneers did draft two tight ends in this year’s draft in Ko Kieft and Cade Otton, but lost veteran O.J. Howard in free agency. As it stands today, the Buccaneers roster has Kieft, Otton and veteran Cameron Brate at the tight end position. The team also has over $12 million in cap space, which is plenty of money to sign Gronkowski and the rest of the draft class.
So What Is The Holdup?
Gronkowski is 33 years old but still the carefree kid we’ve all grown to love. The question is, does Gronk WANT to play, not CAN he play. In his two years with the Buccaneers, Gronkowski has posted over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. So the ability is there, now we just need to know if there’s desire to match the ability.
It’s not like the Buccaneers don’t have substantial weapons on offense already. When you can trot out Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Tom Brady, it’s not like you’re playing with a short-hand. But we have to be honest, Gronk is the straw that stirs the Brady drink. He’s the Robin to Brady’s Batman, the Ying to his Yang, a proverbial security blanket Linus could be proud of. The Buccaneers can win without the Gronk, but can they compete with the Green Bay’s and LA’s of the world without him? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
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