BOSTON (WEEI.com) -- There is no doubt Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning -- just exactly when things will end remains the big question for the New England Patriots.
Brady is 41 years old and statistically is not having one of his better years, while Gronkowski has battled nagging back and ankle injuries, which has forced him to miss three out of the last four games. Also, besides Week 1, he hasn't really looked himself this season.
Appearing on "Mut and Callahan" with Mike Mutnansky, Alex Reimer and John Tomase, ESPN's Adam Schefter shared his thoughts on the future of the two.
When it comes to Brady, Schefter believes he would want to leave the Patriots in a decent spot at the quarterback position.
“I think offseason I am not convinced that everyone knew he was coming back," he said. "We talked about that. That there was not clarity or certainty that he would be back. Every time he comes back he seems to give a different figure. We’ve heard him bring up 45. We’ve heard him say this year to Peter King he has a few more years, or whatever it was — certainly the end was not near in his mind. And you hear this almost every year it seems like for him and then all of a sudden we get to the offseason and there’s more and more chatter that maybe he’s not going to come back. It’s always conflicting ideas. He’s been very consistent in saying he wants more and more football and in speculation in the offseason from other people has been ramped that maybe he’s going to pack it in now. I don’t know what is right there. I don’t know what the solution is. When he’s ready he’s going to go.
"I think that he would like to see them have somebody in place to take over before he walks away. Do I think he would walk away this offseason before they have another quarterback to turn to? I am skeptical of that. But look, the guy deserves to walk whenever he wants. He’s done enough for that team. He owes them nothing, but there is still part of me that because of the person that he is, I don’t think he would just walk unless they had some solution in place.”
As for Gronkowski, his future seems to depend on how he responds the rest of the season after taking some extra time off to rest his back and ankle.
“I think everyone who has watched would agree that he just doesn’t look the same," Schefter said. "He’s lacked explosiveness, he looks like he’s lumbering out there. He’s always looked looked like he’s lumbering, but he looks like he’s lumbering and just piling over people. You don’t see that as much this year. I think they are hoping that this time off will help invigorate him and that he will bounce back from the bye week and be ready for the stretch run and be like the Gronk of old. We keep waiting to see it. We all keep thinking at some point in time we’re going to get good Gronk and he’s going to make a difference for this team. If it happens, this offense that we’re talking about that has been susceptible to blitzes and not as protective and struggled in Tennessee, if he’s out there things take another different turn like they did when they traded for Josh Gordon, as they did when Julian Edelman came back.
"I think his future is in question, whatever that means. … He has the second half of the year to [prove to] the Patriots, other teams, and to see how his situation is going to play out. I don’t think they are thinking right now, ‘Oh, we’re going to cut Rob Gronkowski in the offseason, or restructure his contract.’ Whatever it may be. There’s still plenty of time. I would say if he continues to play like he has, those questions come into play."