The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally answered the question of if they would sign a veteran tight end. Buccaneers fans should be rational about it though.
After the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, a lot of Bucs fans were screaming for the team to sign a veteran tight end. Well, they delivered. The Buccaneers went out and brought in Kyle Rudolph on a one-year deal to bring another adult to the tight end room that also features Cameron Brate and two rookies.
Here’s the thing though, don’t expect Rudolph to be some kind of savior for the Buccaneers.
Of course, the tight end room has been upgraded, saying otherwise would be crazy. That said, Rudolph will be filling and playing a specific role. That role is that of a mentor to the rookies and providing Brate with veteran support in limited action. He may not be “TE1”, but he’ll be one of the leaders in a committee approach. It’s a role we mapped out recently.
There’s also the issue of whether or not Rudolph is even that big of an upgrade to Brate if even an upgrade at all in the stage of his career. Where Brate is Ol’ Reliable for never missing time, that hasn’t exactly been the case with Rudolph. He’s been battling injuries while ascending in age. He still has his moments, like sending the New Orleans Saints home in 2020, which is something all Bucs fans can get behind, but these moments are few and far between at this point. There’s also this to consider.
Now obviously, Brate had Brady, and Rudolph had Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones throwing the ball. That speaks volumes on these numbers. However, the quarterbacks don’t have anything to do with the snap-count difference as well as the discrepancy in games missed.
The tight end room has been upgraded, but let’s stay standing with two feet on the ground as far as what to expect from Kyle Rudolph. That’s not to say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fans can’t be optimistic, just be realistic too.