The 2018 offseason has been unusually turbulent for the Patriots, with numerous stories of potential departures and discontent emerging from within the organisation.
Throughout Bill Belichick's 19 year tenure in New England there have been no such happenings until 2018, and the bulk of the various rumours have centred around the biggest names on the Pats roster.
It's hardly an encouraging sign for Patriots fans, and things do seem to be starting to boil over in certain areas for Belichick, Robert Kraft, and co.
The centre of attention, as usual, has been All Pro Tight End Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk's refusal to commit to playing in 2018 immediately after the Super Bowl threw his future into complete disarray, and despite recent rumours regarding his potential departure being well and truly quashed, it seems as though the Patriots did consider moving him on at some point this offseason.
According to PFT's Mike Florio there were serious talks going on between New England and other teams regarding trades for Gronkowski just three days before the 2018 NFL draft.
It's likely no coincidence then that the five-time Pro Bowler declared his intention to play this coming season only two days prior to the first round of the draft.
Florio revealed that no details of potential trade packages are known, and that talks never got to the point where Gronk was half way out the door.
Other than offloading a player who was putting out signs that he may retire, it's possible that the trade could've been a move designed to help the Pats move up to grab Baker Mayfield, who it's reported they were enamoured by.
It's also entirely plausible to suggest that that trade may still have been an option for Belichick and co on draft day had the Browns not pulled the trigger on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner with the number one overall pick.
As of now, those potential realities aren't of any significance other than to exemplify the rockiness inside the organisation.
The more recent trade rumours have turned out to be completely falsified, as Kraft stated, Tuesday.
So, Gronk will seemingly spend another year with the Pats, barring an unlikely midseason trade, but that won't cover up the insecurities that this bizarre offseason has brought to the fanbase.
It feels like now, more than ever, that the almost authoritarian Belichick regime is beginning to crack and it would be no surprise to see the 2019/20 Patriots looking nigh-on unrecognisable from this group both on and off the field.
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