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Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘optimistic’ that Rob Gronkowski signs before training camp

Vincent Frank

Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski remains a free agent as the summer months draw on and with training camps getting going late next month.

There was some speculation that Gronk might retire. As of right now, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted recently that the Buccaneers are “confident” Gronkowski will re-sign ahead of the start of training camp. According to the report, it won’t happen before that.

There’s a multitude of reasons for Gronkowski remaining unsigned. Chief among them, he simply doesn’t want to take part in mandatory minicamps this summer. At 33 and living his best life off the field, why would he want to practice in the scorching summer heat?

Related: Ideal landing spots for Rob Gronkowski, other top NFL free agents

Rob Gronkowski contract and potential return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

rob gronkowski, tampa bay buccaneers
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay finds itself $12.4 million under the 2022 NFL salary cap despite having made multiple moves to upgrade its roster.

Re-signing Gronkowski would not be a financial issue for the Buccaneers. He played under a one-year, $8 million contract in 2021. For their part, the Buccaneers are in no hurry for Gronkowski to sign.

“I’m still giving him that time. We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that; the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht on a potential Rob Gronkowski return during 2022 NFL Draft
  • Rob Gronkowski stats (2021): 55 receptions, 802 yards, 6 TD, 61.8% catch rate

As you can see, Gronkowski is still playing at a high level with long-time teammate Tom Brady tossing him the rock. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that will change should the five-time Pro Bowler re-sign this summer.

The only real question here is whether Tampa Bay’s patience will grow thin moving forward. Right now, Cameron Brate is TE1 on its depth chart. Rookie Cade Otton from Washington sits behind him on the depth chart.

Should Tom Brady have stayed retired?

For his part, Gronkowski is not necessarily too concerned about being in football shape even if he signs late in the summer or during the preseason.

“I feel like I can get ready at any time for football, like it’ll take me two weeks only, so, I’m not really worried about it,” Rob Gronkowski said back in May. “It’s just cool just to be doing other things and enjoying them.”

Fully prepared to compete for their second Super Bowl title in three seasons, the Buccaneers now seem to be confident Gronkowski will return for a third season with the team. If so, it will only add to their already elite skill-position talent for Tom Terrific.

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