Another offensive starter is hitting free agency, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to release tight end Cameron Brate before March 15th.
Buccaneers fans knew this offseason would be one of significant change, and it seems the process is now officially underway.
It all started with Tom Brady announcing his retirement at the beginning of February, ending the most productive eras in franchise history. Over the course of three seasons, the Bucs won a Super Bowl, won the NFC South twice, and made the playoffs three consecutive times.
Part of the price for that success is being paid now. The front office resisted kicking the salary cap can too far down the road in years past, something that put them in a position to sign Tom Brady when he became available. Now the bill has come due, and with the team $55 million over the cap tough decisions are being made.
Leonard Fournette was already named as a cap casualty, as he asked for a release once he knew he wouldn’t be playing with Tom Brady anymore.
Now it sounds like Cameron Brate is among those getting a pink slip.
Buccaneers News: Cameron Brate is the latest veteran to be released
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Bucs will be parting ways with Brate when the new league year begins.
“Buccaneers are expected to release tight end Cam Brate in the coming days, per source,” Fowler reported on Thursday. “Brate, who played nine seasons in Tampa, has a cap hit of around $5 million. A good run with 273 catches and 33 touchdowns.”
A good run indeed, as yet another fan favorite will be departing the Buccaneers as part of what it looking like an offseason purge.
Like the Fournette decision, while it’s not fun to hear it become official the Bucs releasing Brate was expected. He was unfortunately plagued by injuries over the last few seasons with the most serious and terrifying of them happening this year when he needed to be carted off the field in a game against the Steelers. That incident came a few weeks after he left the Bucs loss to Kansas City with a head injury.
Injuries are a notable part of Brate’s time with the Bucs but it’s hardly the main story. He’ll be remembered as one of the veteran players who survived the Dark Years of the 2010s to emerge a Super Bowl champion when Tom Brady arrived in 2020.
Releasing Brate will free up a much-needed $5 million for the Bucs, but the work is hardly done in getting back under the cap. Other potential veterans who could join Brate and Fournette as Ex-Buccaneers are Donovan Smith, Scotty Miller, and Lavonte David, but time will tell where and how the Bucs decide to make cuts.