Hannable: Chaos with Patriots this offseason appears to be dying down, especially following this weekend

Ryan Hannable
April 29, 2018 - 10:57 pm

Jim O'Connor/USA Today Sports

After losing to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, it’s been an eventful, drama-filled few months in New England surrounding the Patriots.

It started with Rob Gronkowski, who after the game was asked about a report that surfaced that afternoon which said it could have been his last game, and he said he couldn’t yet commit to playing in 2018. Last week he said he would be back, but there remained questions surrounding his long-term future with the organization.

Then there was the ominous end to Tom vs. Time where even though playing this coming year never seemed to be in doubt, it gave off a vibe that there weren’t many years left for the soon-to-be 41-year-old Tom Brady.

And last but not least there’s Bill Belichick, and while beyond the Malcolm Butler situation there hasn’t been anything new this offseason, some have wondered if he would just get so frustrated with all the non-football issues that he would just step away in the next year or two.

Things could have really heated up this weekend with the NFL draft, but instead the way the draft played out suggested everything is getting back to at least close to normal at One Patriot Place and maybe all three will be around longer than what was being suggested over the last few months.

Starting with Gronkowski, the Patriots did not draft a tight end besides their final pick at No. 250 overall in Ryan Izzo out of Florida State. Judging by the team passing on some solid tight ends over the course of the draft, it suggests Gronkowski will be part of its plans maybe even longer than his contract that expires at the end of 2019.

On the current roster besides Gronkowski there’s Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, Troy Niklas and Will Tye at the position — not exactly the best group without Gronkowski. It’s also worth pointing out Gronkowski and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with Belichick last week. Maybe part of what was discussed was a new contract that would keep the tight end around beyond the 2019 season. Any deal cannot become official until after May 23, as that was when his re-worked contract became official last offseason.

The same can be said for Brady, as the Patriots didn’t select a quarterback until the seventh round after all offseason it was assumed they would in the first few rounds to begin the transition to life without the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Obviously the easy answer is the team didn’t feel any of the quarterbacks, besides maybe the top five, were future franchise QBs, but if it truly felt like Brady was close to calling it quits they probably would have made an effort to get one of the top five.

New England certainly had the ability to trade anywhere in the draft with four picks in the top 95, so if there was a player it believed was the future franchise quarterback of the Patriots, it could have done what it needed to do to make it happen. It’s the most important position maybe in all of sports, so even if it took multiple top picks, it would have been worth it.

Over the weekend there was also the picture surfaced of Brady working out on the field at UCLA’s campus. There’s no question the QB is all-in for 2018 and maybe Brady too will be around after his contract ends following 2019.

As for Belichick, he made eight draft-day trades this weekend, the most he’s ever made during a single draft. With the trades that he made, he netted an extra second-round pick next year from the Bears and a third-round pick next year from the Lions. 

It’s been reported the coach wants to leave the franchise in a good position when he departs, but if he had plans on leaving following this coming season wouldn’t it be human nature to try and go out on top? Trading away the chance to add impact players for this coming season for draft picks next year isn’t doing anything for that cause.

Certainly, the two aren’t directly related, but Belichick trading away picks for next year gives off the impression he plans on sticking around.

With everything that has happened in the last few months, imagine the talk if the Patriots had drafted a quarterback and tight end in the first two rounds. It would have been non-stop and probably lasted into the season.

While the drama and intrigue with the Patriots seemingly won’t ever completely go away, it seems to at least be settling down a bit thanks to what took place the last few days.

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