Patriots (and fans) should breathe sigh of relief Gronk is committed to 2018

New England Patriots

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski clears the air and announces his return for 2018.

Rob Gronkowski is set to return to the New England Patriots in 2018. Exhale, Patriots fans.

Following an offseason filled with speculation, Gronkowski and his agent — Drew Rosenhaus — met with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday and came to the decision New England has been holding its breath hoping for. According to Adam Schefter, it’s now official: Gronk spikes will take place in 2018.

Over the course of the last eight seasons, Gronkowski has played a vital role in the Patriots offense. Even though Gronkowski has suffered his fair share of injuries, he’s been Tom Brady’s top weapon for a number of years. He finished the 2017 season with 69 catches, surpassing the 1,000 yard mark for the fourth time in his career. He added a team-high eight receiving touchdowns and led the Patriots in receiving.

After a rather peculiar offseason which has seen top talent leave, this is exactly the news the Patriots needed. Although Belichick has developed a reputation of turning nothing into something, it’s hard to see the offense making serious noise without Gronkowski. At first glance, the running back position — although deep — is less than stellar. A weak offensive line and a receiving core lacking a true No. 1 means trouble.

However, all is well now that Gronkowski returns. Much of the burden will be taken off receivers like Chris Hogan and Jordan Matthews.

Despite the underwhelming roster, the draft has yet to begin. The Patriots will likely look vastly different come Week 1. Regardless, securing Gronkowski’s return was a major win for Belichick and staff. After all, bringing back a top-tier tight end and the previous year’s receiving leader is never a bad thing. Now, the Patriots can turn their attention to bringing Tom Brady back to Boston.

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