The New England Patriots have failed to make the playoffs in two of the four seasons since Rob Gronkowski left. He thinks he has the answer for them to get back there in 2023.
Gronkowski thinks that one specific player whose name has been in trade rumors as of late would help the Patriots get into the postseason.
“In order for them to make the playoffs, I think the Patriots need to go out and get a wide receiver,” Gronkowski told NESN’s “Ultimate Betting Show” on Thursday. “They need a guy like DeAndre Hopkins. The defense is very, very solid. And that offense can improve from whatever it was last season with Bill O’Brien having full control of the offense.
“They need that No. 1 wide receiver and should probably add a playmaker in the draft.”
Gronkowski certainly isn’t the only person to have the idea of the Patriots trading for Hopkins in mind. Last week, Matthew Judon actually tweeted that Hopkins was being traded to New England (though that hasn’t come to fruition, at least not yet).
Breaking news @DeAndreHopkins to the patriots 🤩🤩
— Matthew Judon (@man_dammn) March 4, 2023
But a trade for Hopkins would make sense for the Patriots. Receiver is viewed as one of their biggest areas of need this offseason as they lack a true top-end guy – and there aren’t many better receivers in recent history than Hopkins. The 30-year-old has been named an All-Pro five times over his 10-year career, including three first-team All-Pro selections.
Even as he gets older, Hopkins has still produced at a high level. In 2021, he had 42 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns in just 10 games. This past season, he recorded 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns in just nine games.
While the Patriots have been a commonly linked suitor for Hopkins, there has been some speculation that he might not be thrilled to land up in New England due to the presence of former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. Now working with the Patriots, O’Brien was part of the Texans contingent that traded Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020.
However, Boston Sports Journal’s and longtime NFL insider Greg Bedard believes that the relationship aspect between O’Brien and Hopkins is “completely overblown.”
Speaking of O’Brien, Gronkowski thinks that his former offensive coordinator can have a strong and positive impact on Mac Jones.
“He’ll simplify the offense to make it make sense for Mac,” Gronkowski said. “They spent time together at Alabama, so they understand each other and the system. Billy O will help break down the defenses to simply everything so Mac can step up to the line, point out the Mike linebacker and fully understand the scheme they’re working against.
“Billy O is also great at putting guys in the best possible positions to succeed. He brings that passion and fire to the table and he does a great job at connecting with the players in the meeting rooms. Guys are ready to go from the meetings to the field and have that excitement to get out there and play ball.”
Gronkowski played under O’Brien in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.