As the sports world begins to calm down following the massive news of Rob Gronkowski being traded from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sites offering NFL betting are heating up with a variety of prop bets on Gronk’s projected production this season.
Additionally, Gronkowski’s return to the NFL doesn’t mean he’s off the hook when it comes to defending the WWE 24/7 championship that he won at WrestleMania 36. Both Gronk and the WWE have confirmed that the future HOF tight end is still the champ and he will have to defend the belt at all times.
Gronk’s 2018 season was a bit of a down year as he played in 13 games, but only started in 11. He finished with 47 receptions for 682 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In his nine years of playing, the 13 games was the 4th fewest over that span. The 682 receiving yards was the 3rd lowest of his career and the 47 receptions was the 3rd lowest as well.
Although Gronk had a down year in 2018, he did finish the postseason with 13 receptions for 191 yards and a Super Bowl ring. Yet, when you look at those numbers in comparison to previous Playoff performances, they were also the lowest of his career for a multigame postseason appearance.
Bottom line, Gronk was beaten up and worn out by time he finished the 2018-19 NFL year and decided it was time to retire. Yet, he never fully ruled out a return to the NFL one day and that’s exactly what happened.
A few months ago, Gronk reached out to Brady and told him that the fire for playing has returned and alluded to the possibility of coming back to the NFL. However, he wanted to know what Brady was planning.
Furthermore, reports have come out saying that Brady had told some teams in the Free Agency process that he wanted Gronk to play wherever he ended up. It took a month after Brady signed with Tampa for the Bucs to orchestrate a trade with the Patriots for Gronkowski.
The point is, if Brady can be this smooth with the play calling and execution of his plan to get Gronk in Tampa, imagine how motivated and successful this duo will be on the field.
With that said, here are a few reasons why I believe in taking the Over on this bet:
Gronk’s Career Numbers
For his career, Gronk has averaged 68.4 yards per game, which means he would have to play in 10 games to break the 650 yard mark.
Gronk averages 15.1 yards per catch, which means he need’s 44 receptions to cross the 650 yard threshold. Other than his two injury shortened seasons when he played only 15 games total, and not including his rookie year, Gronk had 47 or more receptions every season.
In fact, he’s had at least 39 receptions in eight of his nine years playing. So, it’s not far-fetched to think that Gronk can get at least 44 receptions in 2020.
His 2018 Production Is Still a Positive Sign
Even if we were to look at his 2018 season and use that as the benchmark for 2020, the signs still point toward Gronk going over 650 receiving yards this year.
As mentioned above, Gronk finished with 682 yards in 2018, which was considered a down year for the best TE in the league. However, he did that on 47 receptions and in just 11 starts. He also finished with a 14.5 ypc average, which is just slightly below his career numbers.
If Gronk comes back and only plays to the level of his 2018 year, he should still surpass that 650 receiving yard mark.
Tampa’s Passing Offense Will Be Explosive
One of the main reasons why online NFL betting sites and NFL pundits are jumping on board the Tampa Bay bandwagon is due to how explosive this offense will be.
With Jameis Winston as the starting QB in 2019, Tampa lead the league with an average of 302.8 passing yards per game. Winston also threw 30 interceptions, which impeded this offense from being even more dangerous. Yet, if Winston can throw for 5,109 yards in this offense, imagine what Brady can do.
Bruce Arians is a wizard on the offense and he will put Brady and company in positions to succeed at the highest level. I expect a lot of seam routes for Gronk and some big plays with Brady hitting the big TE in stride.
Gronkowski Will Not Get Double Teamed
In the past, opposing defenses would double team Gronk when playing against the Patriots. They knew that he was the key to New England’s offense especially in passing downs and the redzone. With that said, opposing defenses will not be able to do this against Tampa this year.
The big reason why defense won’t be able to double team Gronk is due to the other receiving weapons on this offense in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Evans is a 6’5,” 231 pound wide receiver that wins one-on-one battles and stretches the field. In his six year career, he’s gone over 1,000 receiving yards each year and averages 8 TDs per game. He also averages 77 receptions per season and is a beast to cover.
Chris Godwin is 6’1,” and 210 pounds, but tends to dominate the underneath area and the middle of the field. He had his best season in 2019, his 3rd in the league, with 1,333 yards and 9 TDs. Godwin did this in just 14 games.
Both receivers have proven that they deserve double coverage especially Evans on the outside. With that said, there’s no way a defense can double cover one of these receivers and Gronk at the same time. More than likely, they will try to double cover Evans, which leaves Gronk open in the middle of the field.
While OJ Howard was not a part of the Gronk trade, I’m told there remains a diatinct possibility he ends up in New England. That is hardly the only option for him but it is very much alive
There are rumors swirling over the possibility of OJ Howard being traded from the Bucs during or after the 2020 NFL Draft. Reports have surfaced that Tampa tried to trade Howard prior to landing Gronkowski. Furthermore, Tampa also explored adding Howard to the trade for Gronk.
The Buccaneers have until May 5th to decide what to do with Howard, which means there’s still a little bit of time before making any moves. The Bucs have to make a decision on Howard’s 5th year option on that date.
Howard fell out of favor with Arians last season and was benched at times. He hasn’t fully lived up to his potential, but might just need a new environment to really flourish.
Another reason why Howard is the most likely candidate for a trade is due to Tampa giving their second TE Cameron Brate a six year, $40.8 million dollar deal in 2018. They will be paying Gronk $10 million this season and I can’t see the team committing even more money to this position by paying Howard.
If Howard is off the roster then Gronk will definitely get more playing time and targets, which means he should easily crush the 650 yard mark.
Gronk Is Fully Healthy
Perhaps, the biggest reason why you should take the Over is because Gronk is fully healthy. In a conference call following his trade to Tampa Bay, Gronkowski made the following comments about his health:
“I was in some pain at some serious times, even while playing the game, even in games, but that’s what I did the last year. I took care of myself. I let my body heal. I let my body rest. I let my body get the treatment that it needed. I feel like I broke all the scar tissue that was in my body, got rid of all the inflammation in my body that was holding my back my last year I felt like. It feels good.”
According to Gronk, he’s currently at a weight of 250 pounds and would only need to put on another 10 pounds to get to his comfortable playing weight. Putting on that much weight is nothing for an elite athlete to do. He could probably accomplish that in two months’ time or less.
A healthy Gronkowski is a scary thought for defenses. Just look back to his 2nd and 6th years in the league when he was healthy and played at least 15 games. For those two years, he averaged: 86 receptions, 14.5 TDs, and 1,250 receiving yards.
These are incredible numbers for a tight end and only duplicated by #1 receivers in the league. Opposing defenses will have nightmares trying to stop a healthy Gronk.
Gronk Bet: Over 650 receiving yards (-120)
How Many Receiving TDs Will Gronk Have in 2020?
Over 5.5 TDs (-120)
Under 5.5 TDs (-120)
Those reasons above can also apply to this prop bet as well. However, there’s one more factor to consider when placing this wager and that’s Gronk and Brady’s prolific TD connection.
As mentioned in a previous article, Gronk and Brady have the 5th highest TD total of all-time with 78 career touchdowns. They’re just one behind Marino and Clayton for 4th all-time and could possibly catch Young and Rice in 3rd with 85 TDs.
For his career, Gronk has 80 total touchdowns: 79 via reception and 1 via rushing. That’s almost an average of nine TDs per season.
In 2018, Gronk only had 3 TDs. However, in six of his nine seasons, he had eight or more. In fact, in five of his nine seasons he had 10 TDs or more including a whopping 18 total touchdowns in 2011.
With Gronk being healthy, playing in an explosive offense, being a huge red zone target, and having dynamic playmakers alongside him, I see Gronk putting up at least six touchdowns in 2020. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he flirted with double digits again.
Will Tom Brady Beat Gronkowski for the WWE 24/7 Title?
During his sabbatical from the NFL, Gronkowski has been living a full life with appearances in all sorts of media ventures and shows which included a gig as an NFL analyst for FOX.
However, the one gig he landed that probably made the most mainstream impact was when Gronk signed with the WWE a few months ago. He showed up on an episode of SmackDown and was also named the host for WrestleMania 36, which was a two-day event.
At WM 36, Gronkowski ended up winning the WWE 24/7 title when he pinned his good friend Mojo Rawley for the belt. Gronk leaped off a balcony onto a large group of wrestlers that contained Rawley. He then pinned Mojo, won the belt and took off.
Despite returning to the NFL, the WWE released a statement that Gronkowski would have to defend that 24/7 title anytime, anywhere:
“Congratulations to Rob Gronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 Champion, on his return to football. Per the rules of the 24/7 title, Gronk must defend his championship at all times in any location. He could be celebrating a touchdown pass from #TomBrady…anytime, anywhere.”
True to his public persona, Gronk isn’t backing down from his obligations to defend the belt. In fact, he’s keeping an eye out for anyone trying to take the title from him. Gronk stated that he might have to get extra security at the stadium for when players can return to practice.
Gronk will also have to keep an eye out for his friends and teammates. Anyone of them could come after the 6’7,” 250 pound champion. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Brady had visions of becoming a WWE champ dancing in his head.
Could you imagine Brady pinning Gronk in an online clip. That would go viral in an instant. It would also be massive coverage for the WWE who would greatly benefit from a massive football icon like Brady wearing a WWE championship belt.
If Brady can agree to play in a golf match with Mickelson as his partner to take on Woods and Manning then he could certainly work out a deal with the WWE where he beats Gronk and holds the title for a short time.
The WWE could have someone like The Rock or Hulk Hogan (who both also live in Florida) pin Brady and put the belt back in a wrestler’s hands. That would be a massive PR success and give fans of the NFL and the WWE something to get excited over during these difficult times.
So far, no WWE betting sites have odds on Gronk losing the 24/7 title to Brady or anyone else as of now.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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