Will the Buccaneers draft Rob Gronkowski’s replacement?

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Four years ago, tight end Rob Gronkowski ended the mystery regarding his potential retirement by committing to the Patriots in the days preceding the draft. If he hadn’t, the Patriots may have taken his replacement.

As Gronk drags his feet about whether he’ll play in 2022 for the Buccaneers, he needs to consider the possibility that they’ll draft a tight end who will replace him on the roster.

On Tuesday, G.M. Jason Licht was asked whether he’s approaching the draft as if Gronk won’t be back.

“Well, no,” Licht said. “You have to pay attention to that position. Like I said before, you don’t want to push a player up just because, like right now at this very moment, it looks like a perceived need. So you want to take him at the right spot.”

He’s right. There’s a balance regarding when a given player should be selected, given the various other needs that can be addressed with draft picks. There’s also a belief that, once Tom Brady activates the Gronk signal, the big lug will be back, with bells on.

Thus, don’t expect Gronk to declare his intention to return simply to keep the Bucs from filling his seat. His seat will still be there, whenever he wants it. Brady will make sure of that.

Will the Buccaneers draft Rob Gronkowski’s replacement? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk