After finishing the 2017 season 5-11, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers certainly went into the offseason knowing they had to make some changes to their roster. One change they couldn’t afford to make, however, was losing tight end Cameron Brate, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. Today the team has agreed to re-sign Brate to a long-term deal to avoid any chance of losing him.
Bucs are keeping TE Cam Brate. The redzone target has a new 6 year deal in Tampa
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2018
The details of the deal include $41 million over six years (an average of $6.8 million per year) with $18 million guaranteed.
Brate was a diamond-in-the-rough find for the Buccaneers. After going undrafted in 2014, Brate was signed to the Bucs practice squad to start the season. He spent most of his time there before being called up to the active roster for the last few weeks of his rookie year. In September of the following year, he was released by the Bucs. He spent a week on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, but then returned to the Buccaneers after that, this time on the active roster right away. Since then Brate has been climbing the ladder of the offensive ranks, and is now, as his contract suggests, a focal point for what head coach Dirk Koetter wants to do on offense.
In 2016, Brate led all tight ends in the NFL with eight touchdowns and had 57 receptions with 660 yards. In 2017, Brate’s numbers were down all around, just six touchdowns with 48 catches and 591 yards, but that can be credited to the team adding rookie tight end O.J. Howard. Just because he had another tight end running with him didn’t make Brate’s presence any less important, and by signing him to a long-term deal, the team put their money where their minds were and proved that.