Goodbye Gronk

Welcome to the second edition of the Onside Kick. This week I will take a look at the trades, free agency signings and retirements that have happened over the last two weeks.

A month and a half after winning his third Superbowl ring, Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL.

Despite struggling with injuries and having a short career compared to other great tight ends, Gronk is the best to ever play the position and will definitely be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

His 17 receiving touchdowns in 2011 stand as the most ever by any tight end in a single season and finishes his career with the highest number of receiving touchdowns as a New England Patriot, with 79.

It will now be difficult for the Pats to find a replacement, but the upcoming draft is one of the strongest we’ve seen for tight end’s in years, so it wouldn’t be a shock if we see Bill Belichick moving up in the first round to select one.

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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on Mar 24, 2019 at 2:53pm PDT

Speaking of retirements, Oakland Raiders wide receiver, Jordy Nelson also recently announced his retirement after 10 years in the NFL.

The 33-year-old spent his first nine years in the league with the Green Bay Packers, winning everything from the Superbowl in 2010 to the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2015.

When he left the four-time Superbowl champions in 2017, he had the most receiving touchdowns by any Green Bay Packer, and he will forever be remembered by the legendary Wisconsin franchise.

The NFL Hall of Fame may be a stretch for him, but Nelson will almost definitely find himself in the Packers Ring of Honour.

The Philadelphia Eagles have sent a 2020 sixth round pick to the Chicago Bears in return for 24-year-old running-back Jordan Howard.

Since Jay Ajayi is no longer with them, the Eagles need a starting running back who can cause trouble for defences, and that is exactly what Howard is.

The University of Indiana product finished last season with 935 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, despite often having to share the backfield with Tarik Cohen.

Now comes the question as to what the Bears will do at the running back position.

Tarik Cohen is a fantastic versatile player, but he is not an every-down-back, so GM Ryan Pace needs to find a starter, either in free agency or in the draft.

Ex-Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker, Justin Houston has singed with the Indianapolis Colts after being released after eight seasons at Arrowhead Stadium.

Houston remains one of the most intimidating pass rushers in the league, and his 22 total sacks in 2014 is the second highest single season tally of all time.

However, the Georgia product has struggled with injury and hasn’t recorded more than 10 sacks in a season since then.

Nevertheless, if he stays healthy, the 30-year-old will be a huge asset to a team with Superbowl aspirations.

Sub edited by Callum Fergusson

Feature image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

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