The tight end position has gotten a lot of coverage here at Bolt Beat over the last few days. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that Tom Telesco told reporters on Tuesday that the tight end room is not complete yet in his eyes, perhaps confirming that the LA Chargers will bring in some kind of tight end help.
Jared Cook is a free agent and he cost the team in some big moments last season so the Chargers could very well look to replace him. Donald Parham is an ERFA, so the team can easily bring him back on a league-minimum deal and Stephen Anderson is an unrestricted free agent. Even if Anderson comes back, the Chargers would still be lacking a hole at TE1.
Tre' McKitty is an elite blocker but has not shown that he can be a reliable pass target. Parham too has potential but it is hard to trust someone with 30 career catches to make that leap into being a true pass-catching TE1.
With solid depth, the Bolts might not be willing to spend $10+ million a season on the likes of David Njoku, Mike Gesicki, or Dalton Schultz, all names that have been tied to the Chargers by NFL analysts. So what is the solution?
Enter Rob Gronkowski for the LA Chargers.
If Tom Brady ends up not retiring and does end up playing for San Francisco (or whoever it is) next season then Rob Gronkowski is probably going to follow him there. However, if Gronk wants to keep playing football without Brady then he is likely going to find a new home away from Tampa Bay.
The Buffalo Bills are the current leading candidate for Gronk but as we know, Tom Telesco often works in silence and does not let his moves get leaked. For all we know, the Chargers could be preparing to target Gronkowski and it does make sense for the team to do so.
The Chargers need a pass-catching tight end that can provide a spark in big moments and be reliable for Justin Herbert. They do not need a tight end that is going to play 80% of the offensive snaps. At this point in his career, Gronk can fit into that role perfectly.
He can absolutely fit into the Jared Cook role and be better at the role than Cook was for the Bolts last season. Gronk still has some tread on his tires as he finished last season with 802 yards in 55 receptions with six touchdowns. He is also still a good run blocker when asked to be, which is something that Cook is not.
Gronk would give the team that true TE1 that can be a go-to option for Justin Herbert in certain circumstances and he would not break the bank or be a long-term commitment for the Bolts. Gronk is not going to get a long-term deal at this point in his career and his contract projections are really doable for the Bolts.
Pro Football Focus projects Rob Gronkowski to get a one-year, $7 million contract. The Chargers would only be paying him $2.5 million more than they were paying Cook last season and would not be committing to a contract that could hinder them in future years. This buys the Chargers another year to watch McKitty progress and come up with a long-term replacement option.
It is a perfect situation for Gronk as well. He gets to play with another elite quarterback and can get a head start on his post-playing career in Los Angeles.