How a year later Rob Gronkowski is much better off than Patriots

Ryan Hannable
March 25, 2020 - 11:00 am

It was a year ago Tuesday when Rob Gronkowski announced he was retiring from the NFL via Instagram.

Listen to your team news NOW.

“Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be,” he wrote. “But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life.

"It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next."

The truth was there was uncertainty that faced not only Gronkowski and what he would do with his life post-football, but also the Patriots and how they would replace one of the best tight ends ever to play the game.

While some may say Gronkowski isn’t the greatest television analyst, or being a spokesman for CBDMEDIC is lame, and hosting Super Bowl beach parties is weird, the fact of the matter is the 30-year-old is having the time of his life. 

Heck, last week he made his WWE debut, which is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the entire world.

Gronkowski is certainly a unique personality, but he’s someone who legitimately just enjoys life. At 30 years old he has plenty of money (and is still bringing in more each day with his new gigs and appearances), has a long-time girlfriend in model/actress Camille Kostek and simply has fun every single day.

What more could someone ask for?

For those who say his “big announcements” are getting old, the joke is on you. He’s never been happier and doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Meanwhile, look at what the Patriots have done in the last year without him.

They replaced him with only Matt LaCosse and Benjamin Watson, so it wasn’t all that surprising the Patriots had the worst production in the entire NFL from the tight end position in 2019. They had to play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2009 and snapped a streak of eight straight appearances in the AFC title game.

Now, the Patriots are no longer the favorites to win the AFC following losing Tom Brady this offseason and are back to being like most NFL teams where anything can happen any given week. There hasn’t been this much uncertainty with a Patriots team in at least 20 years.

And who knows what 2020 will bring. Could Bill Belichick find a way to go 12-4 or 11-5 with Jarrett Stidham? Sure. But it’s also possible things don’t go that way and the team is 6-10 and will miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2008.

If Gronkowski did not retire, his contract would have expired at the end of this past season, and do we really think he would have stayed in New England if he continued playing? And if he did play 2019 with the Patriots, would his presence have been enough to get the Patriots to the Super Bowl? It’s unlikely.

While many questioned Gronkowski for retiring before he even turned 30, he was proven right by everything that has transpired in the last year.

Gronkowski is having the time of his life, while the Patriots are trying to figure out how to put a competitive team on the field.

Checkmark, Gronk.

Related: Bruce Arians admits he was 'shocked' Tampa Bay landed Tom Brady