While the Bucs aren’t expected to go crazy in free agency this season, they will be looking to upgrade a number of positions. PewterReport.com takes a look at each unit over the next week, showcasing which players Tampa Bay could lose, and which players might replace them, including our Bucs’ Best Bets.

Tight Ends

2019 Bucs Free Agents: Alan Cross (restricted)
The Buccaneers have an embarrassment of riches at the tight end position. With O.J. Howard turning into one of the league’s premier tight ends, Cam Brate continuing to be his reliable, sure-handed self, Antony Auclair playing a part in all 16 games last season and Tanner Hudson and Donnie Ernsberger around as insurance, the only thing that the 2019 Bucs will be missing from last season at the position is Alan Cross.

Cross would be a restricted free agent entering this offseason but made the decision to leave the league on his own terms and rejoin his alma mater on the sidelines, accepting a coaching position at the University of Memphis. Despite playing in just 10 games before an injury derailed the rest of his 2018 campaign, Howard hauled in 34 receptions for 565 yards and five touchdowns. Brate filled Howard’s absence perhaps not to the same degree with 289 yards on 30 receptions and six touchdowns of his own.

Top NFL Free Agent Tight Ends Available
1. Jared Cook – Raiders

2. Tyler Eifert – Bengals
3. Dwayne Allen – Patriots
4. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Jaguars
5. Jesse James – Redskins

Others: Luke Willson (Lions), Marcedes Lewis (Packers), Lance Kendricks (Packers), Demetrius Harris (Chiefs), Zach Miller (Bears), Luke Stocker (Titans)

Outlook: There are plenty of tight ends available on the free agent market in 2019 that could do anything you could want in a tight end. There are tight ends that could step in and be immediate weapons in the pass game as well as numerous guys that have been perennial impact players as blocking tight ends, but the question will always be the same as long as the Bucs have such a talented tight end room, where will they fit in Tampa?

Bucs’ Best Bet: No one
Tampa Bay has the deepest and most talented tight end room in the NFL, and if the team was going to add a player it would come in the draft, which is flush with talent this year, or after the draft in the form of an undrafted free agent. Signing a tight end in free agency would waste precious salary cap space.

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  1. Brate would be the #1 TE if he were a free agent. With only 3.3 mil in cap room the Bucs will at least listen to offers.

    Rating: +2. From 12 votes.
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  2. Embarrassment of riches, indeed.

    Bucs: It isn’t broke, so don’t fix it!

    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  3. Bad teams would tinker with the tight ends. Don’t be one of those teams, Bucs.

    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
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  4. Could have started and ended this article with the last sentence: ‘Signing a tight end in free agency would waste precious salary cap space.’

    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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  5. Still waiting for Howard to be this Premier TE that has been hyped.

    Brate has consistently out produced him. Yeah, I see the athleticism, but finish a season for Pete’s sake!

    Rating: -4. From 16 votes.
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  6. Damn, I agree Howard needs to stay healthy for a full season but Brate has had his troubles staging on the field over the last few years as well.
    Even last year his production slipped and he dropped some very watchable balls because gutted it out and played the full season with a hip injury.
    I am a Brate fan like many others out here, but the truth of the matter is the Bucs can’t afford $7 mill for a TE who is now on the secoxnd team, especially in an Arians offense that doesnt feature THE TE like Koetters did.
    If the Bugs can find a trading partner for nothing less than a third round selection, I suggest they take him.
    It was amusing to see ASJ on the list, another bungled second round pick from Licht.
    I don’t blame Licht for the fact ASJ hid his drinking problem and he didn’t know it, but I do blame him for the fact he didn’t recognize that ASJ’s heart wasn’t fully committed to football.
    The Jags are his second team in three years so I still don’t think his heart is in the game. Another player who is just happy to be a millionaire.

    Rating: -4. From 8 votes.
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    • drdneast – Agree with everything you say. And need at least a third rounder for Brate. Send him to an AFC team like San Diego or someplace where he can’t hurt us. [Hearing the Saints are looking at Humphries]

      I just get tired of the hype machines telling us this guy or that is the next premier whatever. Love “bootstraps” guys like Brate, Barber, Nassib and Humphries that have out performed the big contract FA’s and high draft picks. And then we end up letting guys that have been productive go, always looking for that net shiny object!

      Rating: -6. From 8 votes.
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  7. When we drafted Luke Stocker I thought he might be the best of our Draft class that year. Turns out he’s the last man standing. If not great……..reliable and consistent. Must kill my old friend JonnyG.

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  8. And we are talking about TE’s for…….? Because that is after all one of our biggest needs right now.

    This must be a filler article.

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