What Rob Gronkowski’s Retirement Means for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rob Gronkowski, a veteran of 11 National Football League (NFL) seasons and a surefire Hall of Famer, announced his retirement on June 21. It’s the second time the 33-year-old tight end has retired from the league, with the first happening in 2018 after a nine-year run with the New England Patriots.
In a Tweet, Rob Gronkowski expressed gratitude to the Buccaneers for allowing him to come back and resume his career, but said he’s content “knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field.”
Rob Gronkowski has played his entire career with Tom Brady as his quarterback and won four Super Bowls, three with the Patriots and one with the Buccaneers. He concludes his career third all-time in touchdowns for tight ends with 92 in 143 games.
Tampa’s Tight End Depth
It’s not entirely out of the question that Rob Gronkowski returns mid-season to try and win another Super Bowl with Brady. He has come out of retirement before, and Brady will definitely be pushing him to come back if things aren’t going as smoothly as anticipated with his receiving core.
Assuming he stays retired, Tampa Bay might have some work to do to improve its tight end depth. Cameron Brate is a solid backup and spot starter, but isn’t going to be as effective without Rob Gronkowski on the field.
Tampa Bay drafted Cade Otton in the fourth round and Ko Kieft in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but rookie tight ends rarely make an immediate impact.
Brady’s Receivers in 2022
Although he will be without Gronkowski at the tight end position, Brady will have familiar faces at wide receiver in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. They have been among the most effective and productive receivers during Brady’s two seasons in Tampa Bay.
Godwin finished last season with five touchdowns and 1,103 receiving yards. Evans, meanwhile, was a reliable end zone threat with 14 touchdowns and 1,035 receiving yards. Evans is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in receiving yards and should have no trouble getting to 1,000 yards again in 2022.
The Buccaneers wide receiver depth chart is practically unchanged from last year with Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson returning. Russell Gage, who signed with Tampa Bay in the offseason, provides another threat for Brady.
How This Impacts the Team’s Super Bowl Odds
Tampa Bay is still a betting favorite for Super Bowl 57. Most sportsbooks already factored in that Gronkowski might not play in 2022.
However, it’s interesting to note that the team opened at +2200 to win the Super Bowl, but this was well before Brady announced he was coming out of his short-lived retirement. Tampa Bay is now second at +700 to win the Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills are the betting favorites at +650.
Other teams in the top five include the Kansas City Chiefs (+900), Los Angeles Rams (+1000), and Green Bay Packers (+1000).
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