Cameron Brate will step up and break out for Buccaneers with or without Rob Gronkowski

Cameron Brate, Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Cameron Brate, Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Rob Gronkowski‘s future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is still up in the air. However, that doesn’t mean the Buccaneers are not in good hands at tight end.

The cat and mouse game between Rob Gronkowski and the Bucs will more likely than not end up with Gronk’s return to Tampa Bay. With that said, it’s also completely fair to feel that with each passing day there’s no definitive answer, it’s getting increasingly frustrating. It’s especially true when the draft is right around the corner, which would help the Buccaneers planning for the future of the position. This point is exasperated when you take into account that O.J. Howard signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

Luckily, the Buccaneers still have Cameron Brate.

One of the hot sayings in the NFL streets, or sports in general at the moment is that “the best availability is availability” when it comes to analysis. That certainly applies here. Since joining the Buccaneers in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, out of Harvard of all places, Brate has been a fighter. 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. For reference the season before in 2015 he missed two. Simply put, Brate has been ol’ reliable.

Brate’s stats were never going to jump off of the page, primarily due to the crowded tight end rooms he’s been a part of throughout his career, with his best season coming in 2017 where he caught 57 balls for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. However, in 2021 with Gronk in and out of the lineup, Brate was able to haul in 30 catches for 245 yards and four touchdowns which is impressive considering he was never the primary option at the position.

Now, with Howard gone and Gronkowski’s status up in the air, and even if/when he does rejoin the Buccaneers his health always a concern, Brate has a tremendous opportunity in front of him to step up and break out. Whether he’s the first or second tight end, he should thrive thanks to his growing rapport with Tom Brady, which was never more evident than in the playoffs.

While it’s true that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be proactive and plan for a future without Ron Gronkowski just to be safe, it’s comforting to know they have Cameron Brate as a building block for whatever the next chapter in the tight end story holds.

Next. Now let’s talk new Bucs. dark