The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found a new starting tight end, but it’s one they’re quite familiar with.
The Bucs have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with former New York Jets TE Anthony Becht, PewterReport.com learned Monday evening after speaking with his agent, Cliff Brady.
“He’s coming to Tampa, baby,” said Brady. “Anthony is on his way to Tampa right now to sign a contract with the Buccaneers.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Becht, 27, will be reunited with new Bucs quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Muir, both of whom worked with the tight end while coaching in New York.
The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Becht visited with Bucs officials last Wednesday and Thursday, but he left One Buccaneer Place without signing a contract because of Tampa Bay’s salary cap challenges. Before Becht was signed, the Bucs were $1.5 million under the NFL-mandated salary cap of $85.5 million.
However, Becht, who was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday and was in negotiations with New York, was apparently influenced by the full court press that Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and his staff put on him last week.
“I don’t know what kind of recruiter Jon Gruden is, but Anthony absolutely fell in love with him,” Becht’s agent, Brady told PewterReport.com last week. “I mean, the entire coaching staff was great to him. It’s the perfect situation for him because they need a starting tight end, and the Bucs let him know how badly they want him.”
With Ken Dilger and Rickey Dudley hitting the free-agent market on Mar. 2, the Bucs were in the market for a starting tight end and have found one in Becht, who caught 133 career passes for 1,164 yards (8.8 avg.) and 17 touchdowns in 78 games (72 starts) during his five-year tenure in New York.
Last season, Becht only caught 13 passes for 100 yards in 16 games, but he also helped Jets running back Curtis Martin capture the rushing title (1,697 yards) as a blocker.
The former West Virginia standout was drafted by the Jets with one of the first-round picks Tampa Bay surrendered to New York in 2000 in exchange for wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
Although Becht will sign with the Bucs, the team is still believed to be interested in re-signing Dilger.
In other news, the Bucs are attempting to sign Jaguars free agent cornerback Juran Bolden to a contract. According to Bolden’s agent, Jeff negotiations are ongoing.
Bucs free agent quarterback Brad Johnson visited the Vikings Monday while defensive tackle Chatric Darby spent the day with the Seahawks.
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