The 2020 off season started off with a bang for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They signed Tom Brady and updated the team jersey in hopes of creating more of a buzz around the city. Today we look at one area of the team that may have enticed Brady the most, the tight end group.
Over the years Brady has always looked at his Tight End as an important part of the offense. Rob Gronkowski is the proof of this. In eight years playing with Tom Brady he racked up 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. Let’s look at what the Bucs have to offer.
Coming out of college Howard was one of the top talents at the tight end position. Howard is an exceptionally gifted athlete. He is a matchup nightmare for most linebackers and safeties. His speed and ability to gain separation using his size has been a huge advantage. Over his first three seasons Howard has racked up 93 receptions for 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns. During the 2019 season Howard was not being used in the passing game and questions were being asked if Howard would be traded. The New England Patriots reached out to the Buccaneers to gauge a trade for Howard, but the Bucs decided to keep him. I think with the signing of Tom Brady, OJ Howard could become one of the league’s top tight ends.
What could be better than having a tight end that can create space in the middle of the field? Having two! Cameron Brate has proved that he belongs in the league. He signed as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard in 2014. Over those seasons he has amassed 195 receptions for 2,156 yards and 27 touchdowns. Brate has spent the last four years as maybe the most used security blanket in the Red Zone for Jameis Winston. If both Brate and Howard can stay healthy the Bucs will have a one-two punch at tight end that the NFL has not seen since the Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots in the 2011-2012 season.
Over the next few months questions will be asked about what the 2020 Buccaneers will look like on the field. The one thing that I am sure of is that Tom Brady will have his choice of tight ends to catch passes and talent will not be an issue.
The Buccaneers also locked up two other tight ends this offseason. Tanner Hudson was re-signed to an exclusive-right free deal back in March. The pre-season phenom has a high ceiling and looks to add quality depth to the tight end position unit. Tight end Antony Auclair signed a one year deal in March as well. Auclair is more of a blocking tight end but like Hudson adds quality depth to the unit.