GREEN BAY, Wis. — Exactly why should the Packers care which Rob Gronkowski called it quits?

They don’t play the New England Patriots at 20-19. Or at 2020 and sometimes even 2021.

Unless there’s a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl, they won’t play until the 20 22 season.

Still, Gronkowski’s retirement, that he announced over the weekendthat will make matters more challenging for the Packers that off season.

The Packers are now in direct competition with the Patriots for a few of many best tight ends in next month’s NFL draft. And though Packers general director Brian Gutekunst includes two selections — Nos. 12 and 30 — before the Patriots are about the clock with the last selection in the initial round, New England’s Bill Belichick has a lot of draft compost — 1 2 picks whatsoever — to move up and steal one of the tight ends from Green Bay.

Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz served as Belichick’s online coach with the Cleveland Browns. One of Ferentz’s sons, Brian, worked for Belichick on the Patriots’ coaching team for four seasons before he came back to Iowa.

Gronkowski’d 71-plus receptions on his or her own at a season three times.

With the free-agent market practically dried out, the Patriots will have to conduct a trade for a tight end or make use of a high draft pick.

Which is where the Packers can be found in. Although they paid Jimmy Graham’s 5 million roster bonus on March 15, ensuring they’d keep him 2019, plus they re signed veteran Marcedes Lewis, tight ending remains one of their main needs heading in to the draft. Graham is currently 32, also Lewis will turn 35 in May. Graham looked less athletic last season than he did for most of his livelihood, also Lewis was little more than a blocker (he caught just three passes despite playing all 16 matches in 2018). Behind them are Robert Tonyan and Evan Baylis.

ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Packers carrying Hockenson in No. 12 in his most recent mock draft.

McShay wrote: ldquo;Yes, that the Packers re signed Jimmy Graham, however he’s 32 years of age and his production has diminished. Hockenson unites size, speed and strength at the career, and he’d give Aaron Rodgers a true weapon in the passing game. ”

Other mock drafts have the Packers carrying Fant in No. 1-2 and sometimes even taking one of them in No. 30. Also might possibly be a tight end potential from the late first round or second round.

In case the Packers don’t take a tight end with their first selection, they can risk losing one before their second choice includes . Belichick, with 2 picks from the next round and three at the third, can readily proceed of Green Bay in No. 30.

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