His dependability and reliability for the Buccaneers
We’ve talked about how Brate is the most dependable and reliable tight end of the roster all things considered, but it bears repeating here as well. This certainly isn’t saying that Brate is a better tight end than Gronk. Brate probably isn’t as good of an athlete, better blocker, or receiver than Howard either. This doesn’t mean that Brate isn’t useful.
As the old adage goes,“the best availability is availability”. Since joining the Buccaneers in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, the Harvard man’s journey to the NFL wasn’t easy. He fought for a roster spot for about two years, and since joining the team full time, hasn’t missed a game since 2016, when he missed one (he missed two in 2015).
Meanwhile, Howard, the 19th overall pick of the 2017 Draft, has played 42 games since entering the league and has never played a full season. In 2020, Howard played in only four games, by far the lowest of his career. Sure, Howard has gobs of potential, and if healthy can thrive with this team, but the problem is he’s never healthy. Brate has been.
With Gronk, yes he played in all 16 games in 2020, but on a bit of a snap count. He wasn’t the sole tight end in the lineup, because his body is a shell of itself. The fact that he can still play is a medical marvel, and the Buccaneers aren’t ignorant to that. Fortunately, the Buccaneers also have Howard and Brate on the roster to pick up some slack, Brate more so than Howard since he’s stayed healthy.
The fact of the matter is, Brate is the most reliable and tight end of the roster. Period. When you add the other reasons mentioned, it’s clear that they should do what they can to keep him around. Jason Licht has worked wonders so far, and a contract restructure may not be out of the question, but all that needs to be known is that Brate should stay a Buccaneer.