No risk it, no biscuit, indeed.
The famous motto of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is ringing loud and clear at One Buc Place after Thursday's trade for Rob Gronkowski.
Much like Arians himself a year ago, Gronkowski has been lured out of a brief retirement to do what he does best. For Arians, it was the chance to get the band back together, rebuilding an all-star coaching staff of former pupils and close friends for one more run at glory in Tampa Bay. For Gronkowski, it's the opportunity for the same with his old quarterback, Tom Brady.
It was hard enough to believe the Bucs could convince Brady to leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons and six Super Bowl wins, to join one of the least successful franchises in NFL history. But for that to lead to Gronk putting his professional wrestling career (and recent title) on hold to join Brady in Tampa Bay?
As Vizzini would say, inconceivable.
Yet here we sit, on the doorstep of the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Bucs are sending a fourth-round compensatory pick to the Patriots, and in return, they're getting the most dominant tight end in football history (along with a seventh-round pick).
Yes, Gronk has dealt with injury issues throughout his career. But he's had a year off from the wear and tear of the NFL life, and he's still only 30 years old. He's probably as healthy as he's been his entire career.
When Arians returned from his retirement at the behest of good friend and Bucs general manager Jason Licht, it wasn't to preside over a rebuild that would challenge his blood pressure for the next five years waiting for a young, inexperienced roster to develop. No, Arians came to win, early and often, something the Bucs didn't do enough of last season.
So, much like he did as a play-caller, Arians got aggressive.
The Bucs made their play for Brady, signing him away from New England on a two-year deal, and letting 26-year-old Jameis Winston, the franchise's all-time leader in every major passing category, walk in free agency.
They re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, two key veterans anchoring the defensive line, both north of 30 years old.
They also have a young core on both sides of the ball, led by a Pro Bowl pair of wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. They have promising youth across both levels of the secondary. They have a veteran leader on defense in Lavonte David, and used the franchise tag to make sure NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett wasn't leaving town.
Above all, the Bucs have the pieces to make a Super Bowl run, both on the field and on the sideline.
Tom Brady knew this. So does Gronk.
In the NFL, windows close quickly when chasing a championship. For some teams, the windows never seem to open at all. Arians and the Bucs are taking a crowbar, and maybe a sledgehammer if necessary, to make sure their window is as wide as possible for the next year or two.
Time will tell if the Bucs acquire that elusive biscuit, but after years of toiling in relative obscurity in the NFL basement, they're making power moves to put themselves in position to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Tampa Bay.