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michael89156

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: February 29, 2012, 01:49:15 PM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 Free Agency Preview: Tight Ends

 February 25th, 2012 at 9:30 AM
By Jeremy Hill


TE Position Overview:

When the Tampa Bay Bucs traded for Kellen Winslow Jr. before the 2009 season, the organization expected to be set at the position for the foreseeable future.

It seems the Bucs have accomplished that objective.

Despite his up and down play last season, Winslow still managed a team-leading 75 catches and 763 yards receiving. In his three seasons in Tampa Bay, Winslow has racked up 218 catches and 12 touchdowns. Much of the criticism surrounding Winslow has been his ball safety; he had two fumbles in '11 and passes deflected off his fingertips were intercepted three times. Still, Winslow is signed through 2014 and is unlikely to leave Tampa.



M. J. MASOTTI JR./Reuters/Fotoglif
 

TE Position Needs:

As previously noted, Winslow is locked up for the next three seasons and should continue to be the team's top receiving threat at the position. Second-year man Luke Stocker, a guy expected to be the blocking presence of the unit, was inconsistent and injury prone in his rookie campaign. Stocker, much like Winslow, is locked up until '14. After using a fourth round pick on Stocker, the Bucs are unlikely to give up on Stocker just yet. Collin Franklin and Zack Pianalto also hold spots on the active roster. It seems unlikely that the organization makes any drastic moves at the position, although the addition of a solid blocker would be proactive.

Buccaneers101.com's Free Agency Front Runners:

1. John Gilmore (6'4", 260) - Remember him? Gilmore joined New Orleans on a one-year deal in '11 after a three-year stint on Tampa. Gilmore is a punisher in the running game. Consider this comparison: in 2010 with Gilmore, Tampa was 8th in the league in rushing. Without Gilmore, the group fell to 30th. On the flip side, New Orleans improved to 6th after being 24th the previous season. Gilmore would be a nice, inexpensive pickup.

2. Billy Bajema (6'5", 261) Another road grater, Bajema has paved the way for St. Louis star running back Steven Jackson for the past three seasons. Essentially a nonfactor in the passing game, Bajema would provide a good option on the business end of two tight end sets. St. Louis will attempt to retain his services.

3. Kellen Davis (6'6", 259) - Davis appears to be staying in Chicago although he WILL entertain offers. Despite his size, Davis is much more involved in the passing game than the previous two (five TDs in '11). It seems unlikely that the Bucs will spend much effort chasing Davis, but he would be an attractive addition.



http://www.buccaneers101.com/2012/02/25/tampa-bay-buccaneers-2012-free-agency-preview-tight-ends/
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