Patriots

Bedard: Why the NFL has questions about how effective Rob Gronkowski will be in Tampa

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It's been one of the feel-good storylines of the NFL offseason.

Tom Brady leaves New England for Tampa Bay, calls up his old buddy Rob Gronkowski and the tight end comes out of retirement to play in the NFL again.

Has all the makings, right? The Shawshank Redemption II: Tom and Gronk escape Warden Belichick and live out their football lives making their own hours and sailing boat charters for Captain Bruce on the Gulf of Mexico.

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Who wouldn't love that kind of movie? I'm betting some Patriots fans would privately relish watching Brady and Gronkowski soar to great heights away from Fort Foxborough.

One possible flaw in that script: What if Gronkowski is just ... average? Because if you asked around the league — including sources around the team — they'd say that's what he was his final season in New England. And the chances of a year off helping him improve over the course of a full season are not good.

"Was he just beaten down at the end of 2018 and, after a year off, he'll come back refreshed for one final run?" said one AFC general manager. "Sure, I guess that's possible. Tampa better hope so