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What Do We Read Into Gronk's Goodbye Message to Danny Amendola?

This is our 19th NFL free agency period under Bill Belichick, so we’re used to it being a miserable experience. With the exception of a few years like the times they signed Roosevelt Colvin and Adalius Thomas or last year when they came out of the clouds with Stephon Gilmore, but those are the exceptions. Most other fanbases are sitting under their trees in their PJs, unwrapping iPads and gaming systems and we’re getting socks.

Franchise quarterbacks are on the move. Top tier, sexy skill position guys are hitting the market. While we lose four starters in the span of a few hours while extending guys like Nate Ebner and Brandon King, who probably one Pats fan in 20 has ever even heard of. There’s rumors out there about Jordy Nelson, Trent Murphy and Tyrann Mathieu, though we’ve gotten used to the idea that we can’t have nice things.

But so far in 2018’s Winter of Our Discontent it’s a form of torture. Like Amnesty International ought to be launching a formal protest in the U.N. right now. Because this is the year when we can’t even lose a beloved, overachieving clutch performer without immediately having to check every other player’s social media to look for clues about how unhappy they are. Here I am for like the tenth time since the Hail Mary at the end of Super Bowl LII hit the ground that I’m left to try and decipher Rob Gronkowski’s Windtalker code for clues to what he’s thinking about his future.

In this IG post, it’s hard not to immediately notice the ALL CAPS in the words FREE and HAPPY. While there’s nothing at all out of the norm for a guy wishing his buddy well as he cashes in on the open market, after all the cryptic messages and lack of answers out of Gronk’s camp about his future, how do you not read into it that he feels neither FREE nor HAPPY right now? This could be nothing. But it sounds to me like Gronk’s version of Red’s narration from Shawshank after Andy escapes:

I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more grey. I guess I just miss my friend.

Hopefully I’m just reading way too much into this. And the fact that every time a Patriots player posts something about one of these player departures Tom Brady is the first man in with a Like. Hopefully. I just know that if Belichick doesn’t start bringing in impact players and soon, things are just going to get worse around here. So far 2018 can eat a dick.

 @jerrythornton1