3. Not getting OJ Howard back from the Buccaneers
When Tom Brady called Rob Gronkowski and pulled him out of retirement, the New England Patriots still held his rights and had to ultimately trade him to Tampa Bay.
Even though Gronk was returning to football with no intentions of playing for the Patriots (which should tell you something about their offseason strategy), the Patriots still had an opportunity to get something out of the Buccaneers for him.
With former first-round tight end OJ Howard entering a contract year, the Patriots could have at least asked for a better return than a fourth-round pick for a player of Gronkowski’s caliber.
Specifically, they should have asked the Bucs to send back OJ Howard.
Howard is a tremendous athlete at the tight end position and it takes a couple of seasons for tight ends to really acclimate to the NFL. With that said, Howard has proven himself to be a solid weapon in his first three seasons in the league with 12 touchdown catches.
The Patriots instead used third-round picks on Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene to upgrade the tight end position. Those guys are going to need to have a big impact as rookies.