It’s currently unclear what the New England Patriots’ wide receiver rotation will look like next season.
While the likes of Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne figure to make up the top three spots on the depth chart, there’s a debate to be had regarding who will round out the final three roster spots once training camp wraps up.
In terms of players who could challenge for a spot in the rotation, the Patriots recently signed Devin Ross to their 90-man roster.
Ross was actually with the team last offseason and that familiarity could end up being crucial when the time comes for the Patriots to finalize their 53-man roster. However, that’s not entirely noteworthy here.
When the Patriots brought Ross in for a tryout, they gave him the No. 87 jersey, which was famously donned by Rob Gronkowski for nine years.
Though New England has since given Ross the No. 9 uniform, it still feels odds they were so willing to give up Gronk’s old number.
Devin Ross was rocking the No. 87 jersey during his Patriots tryout.
Going as far as to say that there’s animosity between Gronkowski and the Patriots after he spurned retirement just to request a trade to the Buccaneers would be ridiculous. Perhaps they were running low on uniforms and had no other choice but to offer up his old number.
Keep in mind there’s currently 90 players on the roster, too. That total will be trimmed once the Patriots return from summer break for training camp and the No. 87 jersey will surely go back to being semi-untouchable … which is probably the way it should be.
It’s obviously too early for New England to retire any numbers from their dynasty, especially players who are still kicking in the league, like Gronk and Tom Brady. It goes without saying that No. 12 will never be worn again by a Patriots player, but the jury is still out regarding whether Gronkowski will have his No. 87 hanging in the rafters.
Though the perennial superstar missed a lot of time with injuries throughout his career, he’s arguably the second-best tight end in the history of the sport behind Tony Gonzalez. Based on raw talent and sheer physicality, you’d be hard-pressed to name many better. Furthermore, Gronk was an integral piece of four Patriots championships.
With all that being said, however, we wouldn’t overreact to New England giving out his No. 87 jersey to Ross. At the end of the day, it was just a tryout and the fact the team was quick to take it back, for lack of a better term, proves they hold Gronk in the highest regard.