For the third year in a row, the Bucs and Cameron Brate have agreed to the veteran tight end taking a pay cut. The pay cut allows Tampa Bay to create more salary cap room for the 2022 season. Brate was set to make a base salary of $6.55 million in 2022, according to OverTheCap.com. He’s due a $250,000 roster bonus and was slated to count $7.285 million against the cap in 2022. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the news.
Brate’s new deal is for two years at $8 million, which is an average of $4 million per season. His 2022 base salary has been reduced by at least $2.5 million which will save the Bucs some precious cap space.
Brate was first asked to take a pay cut to remain in Tampa Bay during the 2020 offseason. The team needed some cap room to sign free agents and also to acquire Rob Gronkowski via a trade. Brate took a $1.75 million pay cut from his $6 million salary to $4.25 million that year.
Last year the Bucs asked Brate to take a more aggressive pay cut to remain on the team. He received $2.425 million as a signing bonus with a base salary of $1.075 million in 2021. At the time of the restructure he had already received a $250,000 roster bonus, so Brate counted $3.75 million against the cap last year. Tampa Bay saved $4.69 million by redoing Brate’s deal.
Brate’s Pay Cut Due To Production Decline
Bucs TE Cameron Brate – Photo by: USA Today
The 31-year old Brate signed a six-year, $41 million contract in 2018 back when he was the team’s leading receiving tight end. Over the last few years Brate has seen his production decline. He has been a backup tight end to both O.J. Howard and more recently to Gronkowski over the past two seasons.
Brate’s best season came in 2017 when he caught a career-high 57 passes for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2018, Brate posted 48 catches for 591 yards and six TDs. He injured his hip during the 2019 season and his production declined. Brate caught 36 passes for 311 yards and four scores that season.
In 2020, Brate caught 28 passes for 282 yards and thee touchdowns, including a big one in the NFC Championship Game. Last year, Brate continued to be a reliable red zone weapon with 30 catches for 245 yards and four touchdowns. He and Codey McElroy are currently the only tight ends under contract. Gronkowski and Howard are both free agents this offseason.
Brate has one more year left on his contract in 2023 where he’s set to make $7.5 million and count $7.85 million against the cap. He also has two voidable years in 2024 and 2025.