The Buccaneers created some room in their stable of tight ends Thursday, trading Alex Smith to the New England Patriots in exchange for an undisclosed pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Smith, 26, originally entered the NFL in 2005 as a third-round pick with the Bucs. He played collegiately at Stanford.

The 6-foot-4, 258-pound Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract, started 43 games for the Bucs, catching 129 passes for 1,252 yards (9.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns.

In 2008, Smith caught 21 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

Tampa Bay traded a 2009 second-round pick and a 2010 fifth-round selection to Cleveland in exchange for Pro Bowl TE Kellen Winslow earlier in the offseason. The Bucs' decision to trade Smith indicates the team is fairly comfortable with Winslow, Jerramy Stevens and John Gilmore playing tight end heading into the 2009 season. The Bucs also have TE Jason Pociask on their roster.

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