The 2017 season ended in complete controversy for the New England Patriots. The team best known for being a model franchise in the NFL, suddenly had a litany of in house fires that needed to be put out.

Star cornerback Malcom Butler sat on the bench while the team's defense was torched by Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. An ESPN report came out detailing a high level of friction between team owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

Then, out of nowhere, Rob Gronkowski admitted that he was contemplating retirement.

The news was shocking for the young tight end who is just entering the prime of his already Hall of Fame career. The guy who is always having the most fun, was suddenly not having any fun at all.

Unhappy in New England

In January, a report from Seth Wickersham at ESPN came out detailing a number of issues that were causing major friction in New England. Die-hard Patriots fans quickly dismissed the article as nothing more than some sensationalized rumors. The team was on the fast track back to the Super Bowl and all appeared well from the outside.

Since the upset loss to the Philadelphia Eagles though, that report has been gaining more and more credibility. When asked about his future plans following the game, Rob Gronkowski replied with a noncommittal quip that left open the possibility that he may retire.

Part of the report included tidbits from Rob Gronkowski's people and their frustration with how the player was being treated. He has always been known as a fun loving guy, but it never appeared to get in the way of his duties as an NFL player. His success on the field speaks for itself.

With the reports now that he is unhappy with how the "Patriot Way" is being implemented in New England, his days as a Patriot may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Where could he go?

Bill Belichick is no stranger to trading away Patriots players who are in their prime. Once a player has been deemed to be on the outs with the team, Belichick usually wastes little time in correcting the situation. He did it before with Randy Moss, Richard Seymour, and more recently with Logan Mankins.

Trading Gronkowski would be near blasphemy for Patriots fans, but the pieces are all in place that a trade seems imminent.

After hearing that he has spent most of this offseason contemplating retirement, it is only natural too that Belichick has lost some faith in the league's best tight end.

There will be a line of teams calling if Gronkowski is up for trade. Some of those teams have likely already called to kick the tires on a deal. The Los Angeles Rams would be the front-runner right now as they have the cap space to absorb the contract for draft picks and are currently seeing if they can pry Odell Beckham away from the New York Giants.

If Gronkowski does suit up for New England in 2018, it is likely going to be his last season with the team.