The New England Patriots were calling teams to gauge their interest in All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski as recently as three days before the NFL Draft, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.
Gronkowski announced two days before the draft that he intended to play in 2018 after speculation that he might retire fueled by his comments in the aftermath of the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
The report does not specify what the Patriots were seeking or whether a deal was close to happening. One theory is the Patriots were looking to see how high they could move up in the draft to potentially select Baker Mayfield. That became less of an option once it became clear that the Browns intended to take Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick.
A widely criticized rumor surfaced last week that the Patriots intended to trade Gronkowski and that owner Robert Kraft vetoed the deal. Kraft told reporters that the rumor was "hogwash" and completely false.