Buccaneers 2018 Off-Season Position Preview: Tight End
Potential Free-Agent Targets
Howard wasn’t the leading tight end for the Buccaneers, but he’s going to be the main guy sooner or later. Likely sooner.
While Auclair and Cross are talented depth pieces, there’s nothing preventing the team from bringing in some additional talent to play behind Howard as he gradually becomes the legitimate number one tight end.
Let’s take a look at the free-agent options the Buccaneers may consider for 2018.
Previous Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The second of two very important restricted free-agent decisions. The question here really is how high do the Bucs need to tender Brate to keep him in Tampa for at least one more year?
Looking at Spotrac’s evaluation of him, he lines up well against fellow tight ends like Charles Clay, Kyle Rudolph and Coby Fleener.
Those are certainly names who could find jobs on the open market, and Brate might have the highest ceiling of them all.
Signing Brate to a multi-year contract may be too high of an investment to make in the tight end position. Especially considering the future deals this team will need to make.
One year under a restricted tender however, is more than reasonable. I’d expect a second-round tender for Brate.
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Previous Team: Seattle Seahawks
Not quite the Seahawks player most Buccaneers fans are hoping to add. Willson could bring some production to the table should the team somehow let Brate get away from them.
In sixteen games last season, the 28-year old tight end brought in fifteen catches for 153-yards and four touchdowns.
Backing up Jimmy Graham is still a tall task, even if Graham hasn’t been the same since leaving New Orleans.
His production and ability would certainly make him a solid back-up to Howard while Brate looks to continue his own production elsewhere.