Buccaneers: Who is on the chopping block after initial moves?

O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 2

Who could depart the Buccaneers in free agency?

Free agency is close, and the Buccaneers appear to be right about where they want to be. But as the roster gets closer to being filled, there are likely a few players whose skills and talents may be useful elsewhere. So, what big names might we see on other teams in the next few weeks? Here are three potential FA losses.

We are getting down to the nitty and the gritty, and we still have players to sign and we still have some over-stuffed position rooms. The question comes down to who can we expect to see on the cutting room floor, to borrow a term from the film industry.

These are the times that try teams’ souls. You know you have players that must be signed, and you know you have players who can serve as trade bait, like hooking up some rotten chicken for a would-be alligator purse. What’s a team to do? Oh my.

Here are a few players we can expect to be cut, traded, or off the roster next season.

Let’s start with the hardest one first, Cameron Brate. There is no question that Brate is a quality tight end. Three years ago, he tied for the most touchdowns in one season for tight ends with eight. The issue is, in this room, there are at least two other tight ends who are arguable better. If, and when, the mighty Gronk chimes in with a contract that makes Brate a bit more expendable, the Bucs could have to make a move.

Bring back OJ Howard, providing he is ready to go, and that leaves the door open. We just inked Tanner Hudson and we have Antony Auclair to round out the depth. Despite his injuries, Howard is a top-tier tight end. His growth over the past two years has been remarkable, and now, under the tutelage of Tom Brady, it’s hard to imagine him slipping back.

So, what shall we do with a player like Brate? Trade bait. There are many NFL teams right now who would be more than happy to trade for a good tight end like Brate. What do you get? I would hope at least a second-round pick, or maybe some incentive for another player of greater need Why not? We have had dealings with the Bucs north team Patriots before. So, I say, let’s see if we can get that deal done.

Sorry if it means Brate has to go, but in all honesty, that is the NFL today. As the players say, “It’s the business side of the game.”