The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made some big changes at the tight end positions yesterday, and they made some small moves with the wide receiver core today.
Preston Parker was given a one-year extension worth $1 million, with $50,000 of that coming in guaranteed money. He signed a one-year deal worth $540,000 in April, and the Bucs were able to buy out Parker’s RFA year in 2013 with this extension. $1 million is cheaper than what the Bucs would have paid him if he became a restricted free agent, so this make sense for the Bucs.
Parker had a breakout year for the team with 40 catches for 554 yards and three touchdowns last year. He was the most consistent receiver on the team, in a season that saw too much inconsistency from the position. While he wasn’t great, Parker didn’t make mistakes and was a solid WR for the team.
He hauled in 62.5% of the passes thrown at him for a total of 8.7 yards per target while operating on short and medium passing routes. It was a quality year for him, and he will slot in comfortably into a reduced role as the team’s No. 4 receiver. In fact, he is one of the better No. 4 wideouts in the league.
Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe reported for the second week of OTAs after missing the first week, and he will need to be at his best in order to receive a roster spot. Briscoe is the team’s No. 5 WR, but he enjoyed a decent 2011 campaign. He caught six touchdown passes and hauled in 68.6% of the passes thrown at him for an average of 7.6 yards per target. Briscoe should be able to at least get a roster spot, but he is fighting for targets at this point.
Undrafted FIU receiver Greg Ellingson played for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a rookie in 2011, and he was recently waived by the Jags before recently signing with the Bucs. He is a practice squad guy and could be cut after training camp. Ellingson was added after former Boise State star and current undrafted rookie Tyler Shoemaker was “waived/left squad”.
In tight end news, Luke Stocker was unsurprisingly named the starting and “every-down” tight end by Mark Dominik. The Buccaneers traded Kellen Winslow Jr. and then promptly picked up former Indianapolis Colts star tight end Dallas Clark. He is injury-prone and getting up there in age, but Clark is still a great pass-catcher and a difference-maker in that regard, despite being a poor blocker. Stocker, on the other hand, is a quality blocker and deserved to be the every-down guy, with Clark getting the targets as the No. 2 TE.
Expect Clark to get more targets than the Bucs, as the team will likely utilize his talents as the primary pass-catcher. Last season, Stocker was targeted just 17 times and finished with 12 catches for 92 yards.
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