The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a tight end on Thursday when free agent Anthony Becht signed with the St. Louis Rams.
That news likely became an easier pill to swallow on Thursday evening when the Buccaneers agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with Tennessee Titans free agent TE Ben Troupe.
A second-round draft pick out of the University of Florida in 2004, Troupe visited the Buccaneers on Mar. 1. According to his agent, Joel Segal, the deciding factors in Troupe's decision to sign with Tampa Bay were the fact that he played attended college in Gainesville and wanted to play for a winning organization and head coach Jon Gruden.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Troupe has played in 55 career games with the Titans, catching 106 passes for 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns.
Troupe's best season came in 2005 when he recorded season highs in catches (55), yards (530) and touchdowns (four). His production fell of dramatically over the last two years as he caught just 13 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in 2006 and five passes for 47 yards and zero touchdowns in 2007.
Troupe fractured his right ankle in November of 2006 and he was placed on injured reserve. He was beat out for the starting job last year by Bo Scaife, who played collegiately at Texas with Tennessee quarterback Vince Young.
Tampa Bay has a talented trio of tight ends in Troupe, who joins Alex Smith, a 2005 third-round draft pick, and recently signed free agent John Gilmore, who is regarded more as a blocking tight end. Tampa Bay also has reserve tight ends on its roster in Keith Heinrich and Daniel Fells.
Bucs TE Jerramy Stevens still is on the free agent market and it's unclear how the addition of Troupe will impact Tampa Bay's interest in re-signing Stevens.
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