Ever since the Patriots lost the super bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles, one of its star players has been going against "The Patriot Way." Rob Gronkowski gave off mixed signals when he spoke at a post-game press conference that signaled to reporters that he may retire. He said that he was "Going to look at his future and over the next few weeks see where he's at." As expected this set off a media storm as news outlets began pondering what would happen if he did actually retire.

Keep in mind that these comments were coming immediately after losing the super bowl.

But also perhaps he had grown tired of coach Belichick making decisions that would hurt the team. Of course, I'm referring to the decision of Belichick not playing starting cornerback Malcolm Butler. Surely no coach would sit his best defensive player in the biggest game of the season right? Well, coach Belichick did that much to the chagrin of the Patriot fans. This one decision is a key factor in Rob Gronkowski considering retirement.

Owner Robert Kraft thinks Gronkowski will play in 2018.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft fully expects Gronkowski back next season. This is indicative of Rob Gronkowski working out at Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots owner has seen him do. However, there are those that have their doubts if Gronkowski still wants to play.

Baltimore Raven's hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis has his own opinion of Rob Gronkowski's decision retirement talk. Ray Lewis thinks Gronkowski's body is the reason that Gronkowski is rocking the boat.

Lewis believes that due to the multiple injuries Rob Gronkowski has sustained and his resentment toward head coach Bill Belichick allowing key players to leave is the reason that the talented tight end should consider retirement.

Seeing so many key players leave is one key reason that any player considers not only retirement but possibly moving on to a different team. Also, Ray Lewis believes that when a player has self-doubt, then that player should make the decision to call it quits.

Bill Belichick open to trade Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots are notorious for trading players that don't fit their mold.

An example of this was trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. The team also let starting tackle Nate Solder and starting wide receiver Danny Amendola left in free agency. ZeeGee Cecilio gave his opinion about Rob Gronkowski being traded in his article 'NFL Rumors: Patriots might trade tight end Rob Gronkowski to this team.' He believes that the St. Louis Rams may be the front-runner to possibly trade for the tight end.

But even if the Rams are willing to trade for Gronkowski, why would coach Bill Belichick want to trade his second best player? If he allowed Amendola and Solder to leave in free agency, then yes he would consider trading Rob Gronkowski. Jeff Darlington at ESPN points to a tweet that Gronkowski sent out when Danny Amendola signed with the Miami Dolphins that stated: "Be FREE, Be HAPPY."

Darlington believes that if head coach Bill Belichick thinks a player isn't all in, then they should be traded or allowed to leave in free agency because it goes against "The Patriot way." If the trade talks become serious, would one first round pick be enough to pry the tight end away from the New England Patriots?

I think not.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal also thinks that a trade may happen. A Patriots team source told Bedard that the "longer Gronkowski goes without being all in, his chances of being traded increases." Furthermore, coach Belichick is growing more and more frustrated because Rob Gronkowski hasn't yet committed to the upcoming season.

Coach Belichick was asked about the possibility of a Gronkowski trade at the NFL League Meetings. Coach Belichick told NBC Sports Boston "I'm not gonna speak for anybody else. "Conversations I've had with players -- and I've had a lot of them-- I'm gonna keep those private between myself and the player. I'll respect the coach-to-player conversation.

I don't want to speak for anybody else."

While trades happen in the NFL, it seems that in order to trade for Rob Gronkowski a team must make the Patriots a pretty substantial offer. Two first round picks would have to offer to the Patriots just to even in consideration for the tight end. But given his injury history would a team want to part with two first-round picks? Then there's also the continuing of Rob Gronkowski to keep playing long term. Any team wanting to trade for him is going to want at least a two to three-year commitment.

While trade rumors are swirling one voice may have something to say about a Rob Gronkowski trade.

Would Tom Brady allow Rob Gronkowski to be traded

The ultimate determination for Rob Gronkowski will be his decision in the end.

He himself said that he would keep playing for the Patriots if Tom Brady kept playing as well. Even if Bill Belichick wanted to trade Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady would surely be able to persuade the head coach from making the trade. I think that Brady's influence would be enough to dissuade the coach from taking such a drastic measure.

As Tom Brady is the best player on the team, I don't think he would want to see his favorite target and friend traded because of a tweet. I don't think that he liked allowing Danny Amendola to leave via free agency, especially considering that he's been one of the most consistent players for the Patriots. The Patriots keep a lot of their problems in-house, but if the team was to trade its second best player, the implosion of the Patriots would surely begin. This one move could single-handedly reshape the landscape of the NFL.