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Should The Buffalo Bills Add Rob Gronkowski?

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I know, this is a sore spot for a lot of us. All the years of domination from New England, and the infamous hit on Tre’Davious White back in 2017, make it hard to root for Rob Gronkowski. But is it worth it to sign him? I was firmly against this move until recently, but I’ve had a change of heart. So, it seems, have the Buffalo Bills.

There’s mutual interest again. Last season, Brandon Beane put an offer in and the Buffalo Bills were reportedly finalists in the Gronk sweepstakes. When Tom Brady opted to return to Tampa Bay for another season, Gronk stayed with him, but strongly considered that offer to join the Bills. If he doesn’t choose to retire this offseason, the chance to play with Josh Allen could be too tempting to pass up.

Hometown Hero

Photo by University of Arizona News

Rob Gronkowski is a Buffalo-area native, living just 25 minutes away from (what was then known as) Ralph Wilson Stadium. He was a huge Buffalo Bills fan growing up and always wanted to play for his hometown team. Though he moved to Pittsburgh a year before he graduated high school, Buffalo was where his heart was. Next, Gronk played for the University of Arizona, and declared for the 2012 NFL Draft. Bills fans crowded around their screens as the Bills picked at 41st, hoping their hometown hero would come home once again. They took Torell Troup. One pick later, Gronk found himself selected by his favourite team’s division rival: The New England Patriots. Tragically, the relationship began to sour after that.

Bitter History

What some may call a sore spot, others would call the greatest career of all time for the tight end position. Five Pro Bowls, four First-Team All-Pro selections, and four Super Bowl titles; Gronk has just about every accolade in the book. He did it all, and he did it against us. Gronkowski’s 12 touchdowns against Buffalo are the most against any one team in his career. A decade of brutal dominance by the greatest dynasty of all time, featuring one of the best tight ends ever to play, leaves a mark. That could all be forgiven easily if he helps us win a Super Bowl, but there’s more.

The Incident

The Buffalo Bills hosted the Patriots in 2017, same as always. It was the first season of Tre’Davious White’s career, in the midst of his Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. He picked off a Tom Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski and was laying on the ground out of bounds after the play, when Gronk laid a brutal and unnecessary hit to his head. White left the game with a concussion, Gronk wasn’t ejected, and Buffalo lost.

Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“The guy did what he wanted to do. He is what he did. Dirty shot, so what does that make him? Dirty player. Simple.”

– Tre’Davious White, 2017, immediately after the hit

White was correct. The hit was dirty and inexcusable. Gronkowski deserved to be suspended for it, though the one-game suspension he was handed was a weak response from the NFL. Gronk formally apologized after the incident, which deserves some consideration. Things do happen in the heat of the moment and, though Tre says he would never do the same thing, he said this a few weeks after the incident.

“As I’ve had time to think about it, I knew he wasn’t that type of player. We just honed in and moved on from it.”

– Tre’DaviouS White, 2017, a few weeks later

Based on the way this franchise has operated over the last few years, we imagine that they spoke to Tre before extending an offer to Gronk last offseason, and White has been vocal about doing whatever it takes to win a Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills. If he can put his pride aside for this team, so can we. It’s hard, and I may never forgive Gronk, but a Super Bowl would go a long way to making up for it. Tre might agree.

What He Can Add

Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Gronk has always been an elite blocker, both in run and pass protection. His improbably-large frame makes him hard to get around for anyone but a speed rusher. He brings crazy physicality and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, proven by his track record over the past near-dozen seasons. He features surprising speed for his size, and gives this offense new options.

Aside from just being another target for Josh Allen, the Gronk and Knox combination would allow us to run 12-personnel (two tight ends) effectively. This was a weakness last season, but with two top-tier pass-catching tight ends, it opens up a more versatile offense than anything we’ve seen in team history. Our offense features playmaking receivers like Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs. With an improved offensive line under Aaron Kromer, Dawson Knox and Rob Gronkowski on each side, and Josh Allen in the backfield with Devin Singletary, it begs the question: Who can stop that offense? No-one.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

One problem: Dawson Knox has broken out and is currently looking for an extension. The money Gronk would command makes the Knox extension harder to facilitate. It could be worked around, by introducing a lower cap hit for Knox this season as Rob Gronkowski plays on a one-year deal, but it would be tricky. Would winning a Super Bowl this season offset losing Dawson Knox long term? I say yes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting Gronk is probably one of the more controversial moves the Buffalo Bills could opt to make. Teams have to make tough decisions like these if they want to win championships, and this might be a difference maker. High-level depth at a surprisingly important position would give this offense another edge and is worth the move. Backlash be damned.

One of the owners The Sports Wave, and a Journalist at Buffalo Fanatics, I'm an English immigrant living in Canada. A huge Buffalo Bills fan, I also love my Boston Celtics, Toronto Blue Jays, and Queens Park Rangers.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shirley DeLaura

    March 4, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    yes we need all the help we can get. If it gets us a Super Bowl I can go to heaven happy. At 87 I can’t wait too long.

  2. Anonymous

    March 4, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    I would love to see Allen and Gronk together. They’re both so freaking hot

    • Iestyn Harris

      March 4, 2022 at 8:00 pm

      It would be a smokeshow fo’sho’

  3. Anonymous

    March 4, 2022 at 11:55 am

    It’s hard NOT to want a talent like Gronk on your team in spite of the Patriots connection that might make some fans might be reluctant. As long as you’re not overpaying or signing him instead of a Von Miller or MLB.

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