One of the positions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must address this offseason is tight end as Ken Dilger, Rickey Dudley and Dave Moore have all become free agents and are nearing the end of their respective careers. With young players such as Will Heller, Nate Lawrie, Billy Baber and Robert Johnson as the only tight ends currently under contract, Tampa Bay is seeking a proven veteran or two to upgrade the position.
While the Bucs have an interest in re-signing Dilger, who has been the team’s starter since his arrival in Tampa Bay in 2002, the Pewter Pirates have some definite interest in another familiar face, Roland Williams, who has played for general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden before.
“I talked to Bruce and Jon,” Williams’ agent, Harold Lewis, told PewterReport.com. “There’s definitely some interest and we’ll continue our discussions.”
Williams, an athletic 6-foot-5, 265-pounder who is entering his eighth year in the NFL, spent his first three seasons with the St Louis Rams, where he caught 51 passes for 472 yards and 10 touchdowns before being acquired by Oakland in 2001 where he played under Gruden. Williams posted a career-high 33 catches for 298 yards and scored three touchdowns that year in 15 starts. In 2002, he caught 27 passes for 213 yards before succumbing to a knee injury that cost him most of the 2003 season.
Williams was signed to a one-year deal by Gruden and the Buccaneers on November 12, 2003, but only played in one game (Houston) before returning to Oakland in 2004. He did not catch a pass for the Raiders upon his return and saw action in 12 games with just three starts.
With the Buccaneers facing a very tight salary cap situation in 2005, the team is expected to bypass the high-priced, big-name players in favor of players such as Williams, who should be available for a league minimum-type contract.
The Buccaneers are also believed to be interested in New York Jets tight end Anthony Becht, who played in Paul Hackett’s offense over the last couple of years. Hackett is Tampa Bay’s new quarterbacks coach.
Becht’s agent, Clifford Brady, told PewterReport.com that the Bucs had some interest in acquiring his client last year and that he would be a good fit in Tampa Bay.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org