.@TBBuccaneers sign TE Cameron Brate to six-year deal: https://t.co/OOaI28FO8t (via @TomPelissero) pic.twitter.com/m22HcNq0BD
— NFL (@NFL) March 12, 2018
Lost in the mayhem of free agency is that the Buccaneers re-signed tight end Cameron Brate to a six-year deal. After expecting a big leap in his second full time season, Brate was underwhelming with both the injury to Jameis Winston and presence of rookie first round pick OJ Howard. After starting ten games in 2016, Brate only started six games in 2017, and finished with a 48-591-6 stat line. Four of his touchdowns came in a five game span to start the year, until he went ice cold the remainder of the year.
While Brate flourished to start the year, Howard was adjusting to the NFL. The rookie was taken 19th overall by Tampa Bay and although he was underused, he displayed an amazing skillset and athleticism while at Alabama. It was clear the team wanted to make him a weapon in the offense alongside Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson — most likely in the red zone where fantasy legends are made.
However, it took Howard awhile to get going. It was around Week 10 when Howard started to produce consistently and showed a solid rapport with the Bucs QB. Going into the offseason, Brate’s departure would have been golden for Howard, as he’d have the firm grasp on the TE position. Now, Tampa Bay will mostly run two tight end sets, with Brate vulturing Howard’s potential production.
Before the Bucs re-signed Brate, Howard was ranked as The Wolf’s TE12 in his “Too Early” Big Board. But with Brate returning, those dreams have been laid to rest.