TAMPA BAY – One of the biggest questions of the Buccaneers’ offseason was answered Tuesday after Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football. His decision marked the fourth retirement the Buccaneers have experienced this offseason, alone.

Will the Buccaneers see a second unretirement in 2022?

That obviously remains to be seen. But it’s important to remember that even if Gronkowski decides to come back and play football, he’s no lock to join back up with the Buccaneers.

Now, obviously Tampa Bay makes the most sense if Gronkowski does return. He knows the playbook and the Buccaneers have the only quarterback he’s ever played with on the roster. There’s so much familiarity and camaraderie within the confines of the AdventHealth Training Center that it wouldn’t make much sense for Gronk to go elsewhere.

However, the bottom line is that Gronkowski can go elsewhere, if he decides to return. This retirement isn’t the same as the last time he retired. Nor is it even like Tom Brady’s retirement back in March.

That’s because Gronkowski is currently an unrestricted free agent. The Buccaneers added a void year to last year’s one-year deal, so all Gronk currently represents on the roster is a cap hit. There are no contractual obligations with the Buccaneers like there was when he retired in New England or like Brady, who was still under contract when he retired in March.

Again, it wouldn’t make much sense for him to play elsewhere, but this important detail moves Gronk’s potential return to Tampa Bay from “guaranteed” to “very likely”, at the end of the day.

And “very likely” is far from a lock.

Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports