What does Rob Gronkowski’s return mean for the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

WWE’s 24/7 Champion is officially taking his talents to the NFL.

Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski announced Wednesday that he will forego retirement and return to the NFL, where he will join forces with long-time quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

We think the two are excited to reunite.

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer broke the news Wednesday afternoon. The Patriots received a 4th-round pick in exchange for Gronkowski and a 7th-round pick.

Glazer quoted Gronkowski as announcing his return with, “I’m baaaaack.”

Gronkowski is indeed back, but does that mean it’s back to the Super Bowl for the Buccaneers for the first time since 2002?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

Shannon Sharpe, for one, isn’t convinced, mainly due to Gronkowski’s elaborate injury history.

“I counted 11 injuries going back to 2009 … Gronk is going to be on the north side of 30 with that injury history, so that’s what the unknown is … When it comes to Gronk, everything goes back to how healthy is he.”

In 2009, Gronkowski’s junior year at the University of Arizona, Gronk underwent back surgery and missed the entire season. He then suffered a broken left forearm in 2012, a herniated disk and torn right ACL and MCL in 2013, and another herniated disk in 2016, among a litany of other injuries during his 9 seasons in New England.

In total, he missed 29 regular season games and missed the entire 2013 playoffs (2 games) and 2016 playoffs (3 games, including Super Bowl LI) during his time in New England due to injuries.

In conjunction with Gronkowski’s age, Max Kellerman pointed out Wednesday morning that even though the Bucs got better overnight, their window to win doesn’t extend far beyond this year, considering Brady and Gronk are only getting older.

“The expectations couldn’t be higher at this point. I think this is their best year to get it done, but I don’t think they’re going to get it done this year, and every year after this one, the odds that they’re actually going to do it get lower because they get older.”

Age is indeed a factor at this point in Brady’s career. By the time the 2020 NFL season begins, he will be 43 years old.

Maybe that’s why he was insistent that a familiar face such as Gronk join him wherever he land, which sources say was one of Brady’s demands this offseason.

However, even though Gronk has missed a season, Nick Wright is less concerned with his form and more worried about what version of Brady will show up in Tampa Bay.

“Even in 2018 – when he was injured, when he was beat up, when he was worn down mentally – in [New England’s] two biggest games of the year, he was their best offensive player … Now, we get to see … Last year, was it about Brady or was it about the weapons, because he now has as many weapons as any quarterback in the entire NFC.”

Much was made of the New England offense last season and its apparent lack of firepower. This season in Tampa Bay, Brady will have Pro Bowl receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at his disposal, along with tight end O.J. Howard and now, Gronkowski.

It’s because of that offensive lineup that despite concerns about Brady’s age and Gronkowski’s form, the overwhelming opinion the day after the trade is that the Bucs have as good a shot to win the Super Bowl as anyone.

Skip Bayless is itching to see Tampa Bay play in the Tampa Bay version of the Super Bowl come next February.

“I really like this team just with Tom Brady and all those weapons that he did not have last year in New England. And all of a sudden, I love this team … I love their chances of not only winning the division but competing for next year’s Super Bowl.”

Former NFL superstar wide receiver Chad Ochocinco paid a visit to ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday morning and expressed his over-the-top confidence that the Buccaneers will be crowned Super Bowl champions at the end of next season.

“When you have someone like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin … who had phenomenal seasons last year, you have a defense that played well, and then you add Tom Brady as a piece, and then you put Tom Brady’s security blanket on the team as well, I would bet the house right now that the Buccaneers are going to win the Super Bowl.”

Don’t get distracted by the robe. Listen to the words.

Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday morning that he loves the move, moreso because the situation is a good fit. In his eyes, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians will manage Gronkowski’s snaps effectively and we will see the old Brady-Gronk connection, one that terrorized his defenses for years.

“He doesn’t have to play every snap. And anybody that thinks he’s going to play every snap is out of their mind … He’s in a perfect situation. He’s with Bruce Arians, who knows how to handle veteran players … I think it’s a great move for Tampa Bay.”

The chatter regarding Brady, Gronkowski and the Bucs is just beginning. All that fans can do now is wait for the NFL season to start, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week gave an update on the 2020 season and if it will happen according to schedule.

“We’re going to do the things we need to do to make sure we’re operating safely, and that includes our fans,” Goodell said on Wednesday. “We’ve got to be smart. We want to try to do what we can to continue playing football, but doing it correctly and safely.”

Here’s hoping the league can safely resume when the time comes – fans have a lot to look forward to.