Joel Corry of CBS Sports took a very long look at whether the Texans could possibly trade J.J. Watt. While it is not a report of anything being imminent, it does explore the idea detailed fashion, with NFL executives and agents providing their thoughts.
So what does that have to do with the Patriots? In trying to gauge Watt’s potential value, he brought up a hypothetical trade for Rob Gronkowski. After all, both players are 27-year-old superstars with back concerns and the Patriots would have the cap space to add Watt while re-signing Martellus Bennett.
As Corry put it, the idea of a Watt-for-Gronkowski swap “received mixed reviews,” with one executive saying Gronkowski is a far riskier trade acquisition than Watt.
“I can’t imagine the teams making this trade,” the executive said. “Gronkowski’s back and injury history scares me much more than Watt’s.”
Another executive was intrigued by it. He thought more than New England’s 2017 first-round pick (32nd overall) would be required in addition to Gronkowski for the deal to make sense for the Texans but didn’t specify what else would be necessary.
Gronkowski’s back issues date back to 2009, his junior and final season at University of Arizona. He had back surgery in June of 2013 and suffered a season-ending herniated disk this past season.
Watt, meanwhile, was limited to three games in 2016 by a herniated disk. He was placed on injured reserve in late September and underwent back surgery shortly after.