The lack of tight finish Rob Gronkowski to retirement left a large gap on the place for the Bucs. In fact the ever regular Cam Brate continues to be on the roster, however the depth behind him is basically unknown.
Figuring out the uncertainty on the place Tampa Bay addressed it within the draft not as soon as, however twice. Deciding on Washington’s Cade Otton within the fourth spherical and Minnesota’s Ko Kieft within the sixth spherical. Each carry completely different talent units to the membership, as Otton is a extra conventional Y tight finish. Whereas Kieft is understood for his tenacious blocking.
Sadly Otton has but to take the sector for the Bucs as he recovers from an ankle damage. Whereas Kieft has proven some surprisingly good fingers throughout offseason camps.
Although the participant with the most important probability to lastly crack the roster is Codey McElroy. McElroy has been with the membership since 2019, discovering a solution to stick round on the observe squad. It’s now or by no means although for the 29-year outdated tight finish who has only one recption for 30 yards in his profession. The Bucs even have a pair of undrafted gamers with Ben Beise and JJ Howland.
So what does this all imply?
Effectively, it ought to imply the Bucs should not performed including to the place. We’ve laid out a number of veteran choices the Bucs may signal, however may they make a commerce so as to add to the place?
Now there’s not precisely a strong commerce market in relation to the tight finish place. The largest identify probably out there may be Dallas’ Dalton Schultz.
Schultz was given the franchise tag this offseason, however seems to be at a stalemate with the Cowboys over a brand new contract. On the books for $10.9 million, the Bucs may take up that quantity into their $12 million in accessible cap house. Nevertheless, in the event that they wished to decrease that quantity, they would want to commerce for him earlier than the July fifteenth deadline for extending gamers on franchise tags.
Final season with the Cowboys, Schultz completed with 78 receptions, 808 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 43 of his catches transfer the chains for first downs and averaged a wholesome 10.4 yards per catch. Schultz was additionally efficient as a blocker, ending with a 69.9 run blocking grade and a 68.1 go blocking grade from PFF. By comparability, Gronkowski ended the 2021 season with a 54.2 run blocking grade and a 68.6 go blocking grade.
That is the place it will get tough. The Bucs have already traded away one future choice. Buying and selling their 2023 fourth-rounder to maneuver again into this years draft to pick nook Zyon McCollum. But the crew is anticipated to obtain compensatory fifth- and seventh-round alternatives because of the losses of Jordan Whitehead and O.J. Howard.
Two years in the past, the Falcons traded for Hayden Hurst from the Ravens. They gave up second- and fifth-round picks whereas receiving a fourth-rounder again. Which may be too wealthy for the Bucs, particularly while you determine in a brand new deal into the combo as properly. However maybe the Cowboys, who traded Amari Cooper for only a fifth-round choice and a swap of sixth-round picks, would take much less.
The soon-to-be 26 12 months outdated sat out the ultimate week of OTA’s displeased over his present contract scenario and lack of progress in the direction of a long run deal. For the Bucs to land the tight finish they could should be prepared to half with a third-round choice and provides him a brand new deal. One thing near the three-year $37.5 million deal Hunter Henry obtained or the four-year $50 million deal Jonnu Smith signed final offseason.
Whereas not the imposing blocking tight finish Gronk is, Schultz is without doubt one of the higher receivers on the place within the recreation and continues to be a really succesful blocker. Final season he noticed over 100 targets within the Cowboys offense. That was with Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and extra consuming up targets as properly. His addition would take the load off Brate, whereas permitting Otton and Kieft time to rise up to hurry to the professional recreation.
Tom Brady loves the tight finish place and makes use of them usually as security valves. Including a bonafide playmaker to the place would solely improve his arsenal of weapons. Schultz ranked third amongst all tight ends in receptions, sixth in targets and receiving yards and fifth in touchdowns. He was PFF’s sixth ranked tight finish final season, one spot forward of Gronkowski. So, he would offer a dependable possibility within the passing recreation.
In fact, that is all predicated below the belief the Cowboys are prepared to maneuver Schultz. But when they’re, the Bucs gained’t do higher than Schultz as they attempt to substitute Gronkowski. Basic supervisor Jason Licht has been in a position to pull off some unimaginable offers throughout his tenure. This all-in transfer could be simply one other feather in his cap.