After all of their offseason moves and some fancy cap maneuvering, the Buccaneers still have the money to sign one more quality tight end.
Until Rob Gronkowski is physically back with the Buccaneers and on the field catching passes from Tom Brady, the Bucs front office should not stop evaluating tight ends on the free agent market.
A trade at the position is likely out of the question, but there are still some options out there that could pair up with Gronk or step into his role entirely if he decides that not coming back to football is in his best interest.
The Bucs should like Cameron Brate and their two rookies, but it is obvious that one more guy is needed if the team is going to make the most of Tom Brady’s final season. With names like Eric Ebron out there as good fits with the team, Kyle Rudolph is another guy to consider if the Bucs want another cheap, quality starter.
Rudolph has been the slightly-more successful version of Brate for most of his career. Neither guy ever has eye-popping stats, but consistency is key here. Rudolph has five season during his 11-year career with at least five receiving touchdowns and his health in recent seasons has gotten better as he has aged.
This tight end option for the Bucs isn’t going to blast the roof off a defense or do anything out of the ordinary, but for a price tag of around four million dollars, it is hard to find more reliable hands out there at the position.
Whether the Buccaneers want to pair Rudolph with Gronk, Brate, or some combination of the two, the value on his most recent deal in New York relative to Tampa’s current need could be far too great to overlook if the team wants to be forward-focused.
It never hurts to keep an eye on what’s out there with so much uncertainty surrounding Gronkowski.
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