Now that legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to walk away from the NFL for good this time, let’s take a look at three options the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should consider to replace him.
Let’s start by stating that there will never be another Rob Gronkowski.
That combination of larger-than-life persona, on-field production, and chemistry with Tom Brady will never be matched. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to business.
While there’s no way to replace Gronk, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could still look to add a veteran tight end to try and replicate his production.
They took Cade Otton and Ko Kieft in this year’s Draft, but it may take a while before they’re ready to be steady contributors.
Cameron Brate is a serviceable, reliable, albeit non-spectacular player at the TE spot.
But if the Bucs want to take things up a notch and land an insurance policy at that position, they should definitely consider bringing in any of the players we’re about to mention.
3. Kyle Rudolph
Kyle Rudolph’s best years are far behind him, but he’s still been one of the most productive tight ends in the league over the past two decades. Also, who looks good playing for Joe Judge and with Daniel Jones running the offense?
Rudolph was supposedly close to signing with the Green Bay Packers but he’s still a free agent. The Bucs could get him for way less than the $9.9 million they still have and would get an upgrade in terms of pass-catching and red-zone threat over Brate.
2. Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron has failed to live up to the expectations as a first-round pick. But he’s still young, and we know how good Tom Brady can make a tight end look. Also, it’s not like he was put in a position to succeed last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dormant offense.
Ebron struggled with injuries last season and missed half of the year, so the market for him has been quiet, to say the least. But he’d be a low-risk/high-reward pickup as he looks to capitalize on what could be his last chance in the NFL.
1. Dalton Schultz
This could be quite tricky, especially considering he’s not a free agent. But if the Buccaneers want to land a top-notch replacement for Gronk, then they need to make a Godfather-like offer to lurer away Dalton Schultz from the Dallas Cowboys.
Schultz was the sixth-best tight end in the league last season, according to most metrics. He’s an elite pass-catcher and is just 25 years old. Also, he’s reportedly frustrated with the Cowboys amid contract extension talks, so the timing seems perfect to try and get him.