The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were poised Tuesday to complete a trade with the New England Patriots for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who plans to end his retirement from the NFL after one season and reunite with quarterback Tom Brady.

“Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” said Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”

The deal was not official but was tentatively in place, barring any last-minute snags, according to a person familiar with the situation. Gronkowski, who turns 31 next month, already has undergone a physical for the Buccaneers, the results of which are pending. Tampa would send a fourth-round draft pick to New England for Gronkowski and a seventh-rounder, according to that person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the trade had not yet been announced.

Gronkowski returns to the NFL to rejoin Brady, the six-time Super Bowl winner who left the Patriots in free agency and signed with the Buccaneers. Gronkowski had one season remaining on his contract with the Patriots and was to make $10 million. He is to play under that deal with the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski cited injuries when he retired before last season but never fully ruled out a return to the NFL and now has had a year to rest and heal. He was one of the league’s most effective tight ends when healthy, a skilled receiver who created matchup nightmares for defenses, as well as an effective blocker.

He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in nine seasons with the Patriots and won three Super Bowls, giving him Hall of Fame-worthy credentials. He has 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in his NFL career. Now he will attempt to help Brady turn the Buccaneers into winners, although both will have to deal with a challenging adjustment period in which NFL teams’ offseason programs have been postponed indefinitely by the novel coronavirus pandemic.


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