About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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  1. 1


    Excellent breakdown. Ever since that ludicrous PFF ranking came out on Howard, I’ve been curious as to how his blocking played out. Good to see some ups and downs laid out more clearly. I hope 2018 shows more of Howard/Brate on mesh concepts. They’re just too big and athletic to lose those battles very often if they run unders or outs. Basically use them more to attack the middle of the field.

    To your first question, we should absolutely pay Brate if the price is right. If we’re gonna burn $6 and $7M on busts like Doug/Baker, we sure as hell should pay producers like Brate. Jameis LOVES the guy and their production just can’t be magically recreated. The way you structured the next two years would align perfectly for the Bucs to either move on from Brate or keep him based on how Howard progresses. Again, it will depend on how the negotiations play out, but I’d really like Cam back.

    Howard should stay at or around 250, imo. The way Dirk wants to use him, he’ll need that extra speed that he might lose at 260. He can still be very effective in run blocking at 250, even if he’ll lose the occasional battle. His technique should only improve this offseason, so that might negate some losses against DE’s. He’s clearly the future if he continues to refine his route running. Very promising start.

    1. 1.1


      Absolutely. he’s got better production than waste of money Jackson also. Remember we held on to that spaz kicker because of “potential” the hell with potential. Keep the guys that produce.

  2. 2


    Brate’s worth it even at a 5 year deal. Keep your good, home grown talent.

  3. 3


    I love BOTH of our TE’s. I personally was very impressed with Howard’s rookie season. I believe he will improve every season, and will be a huge asset to this team moving forward. My vote is to extend Brate. I feel he’s earned that. Jameis loves him, and they have legit chemistry. I’d really hate to see him go.. Only way I wouldn’t be be livid is if he’s involved in a blockbuster trade to land a stud edge rusher. As far as being a restricted free agent, I would think he’d be tendered at least a second rounder. Another #2 sounds great, but how many rookies can match his production?

  4. 4


    First, great article. Trevor is a valuable asset to PR and Buccaneer fans, no doubt.
    I’d keep Brate. Can you just imagine the two TE set with a legitimate running game? Now THAT’s a play action that would work IMO.
    Bucs have to address RB this winter and do it well.

    Trevor, thanks and a hat tip, well done.

  5. 5


    Yes I think Brate isn’t worth extending. He’s still the best overall TE we have. Not only that, I think he is one of the top 5 players on this team.

    1. 5.1


      I meant to say Brate IS worth extending in the first sentence. Thanks autocorrect.

  6. 6


    Brate is absolutely worth a new contract. A lot of good pieces are in place on offense, particularly at the skill positions (I agree completely with the post above that the running back position needs an overhaul). Keep these guys together as much as possible and let them grow together, in the same offense. The Glazers retained Coach Koetter and his staff in the name of continuity, perhaps realizing that changing coaching staffs and schemes every two or three years wasn’t working. Same philosophy should apply here. It would be nice if he and the Bucs work out a new contract prior to the start of the new league year to avoid any possibility of having to match a contract offer from another club. That is up to both parties.

    I would be very cautions about asking Howard to put on any more muscle. As Mr. Sikkema correctly points out, you don’t want to lose any of that speed and acceleration that makes him such a difficult matchup in the passing game. Refining some technique would be a better approach. And with regards to route running: so, so important. That is what separates the good receivers and tight ends from the great ones. Those little details about how you run your routes: release from the line of scrimmage, how and when you make your cuts, hitting your marks, selling fakes…those things cannot be emphasized enough. Attention to detail!

  7. 7


    Thanks for great insight Trevor.
    Think this is the best in-depth bucs artical I’ve read for a long time.
    More of the same please.

    1. 7.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Thanks! If you keep reading I’ll keep writing.

  8. 8


    Brate is worth extending, but. The money we spend on him isn’t going to make our pass rush better, our O line better, and as we’ve seen this past year didn’t help our scoring average. With Godwin, D Jax, Evans, Howard, Humphries, Bobo Wilson, Marino, don’t we have enough options in the passing game? I would try and trade Brate for draft capital, or players that will help fix our biggest problem, the D line, lack of good corners, and guard. We used the 19th pick in the first round, right, or wrong on a very talented T.E.. We also have another good prospect in Auclair. Both him, and Howard won’t get the touches they would with Brate coming back. This team has to many voids in other areas of need. Sometimes less is more.

  9. 10


    Yes they should absolutely keep brate and it would be worth every penny. He has played very well and his connection with Winston is great. Pay the man. Would like Howard to stay are his current weight. His speed is his best weapon and would hate for him to loose some of it. With a better run game and those 2 TE sets out play action game will be impressive.

  10. 11


    Brate should absolutely be extended. He is a great player, has great chemistry with Jameis, and he is home grown. He is exactly what you want from a player, and coaching, perspective. Brate and Howard aren’t impacting each other, they play differently.

    Letting Brate go would be a HUGE mistake.

  11. 12


    Yes we should keep him. I had no clue he was worth that kind of money though, but if that’s the going market okay; still surprised though for a tight end.

  12. 13


    If you don’t sign Brate and Howard gets hurt, where are you now?
    We always need starters & depth.
    Nice article.

    1. 13.1


      Exactly. Brate got hurt vs New Orleans in the 3rd & we ended up throwing twice to Brandon Myers in the end zone late in the 4th quarter. And we all remember how lethargic the offense was vs CAR the next week without a viable TE threat. Auclair is unproven. We have enough money to pay Brate, while O.J. & Auclair develop.

  13. 14


    I am a Brate guy all the way. If someone offers him a big Contract, Match it and if the other team wants him enough, Bucs can always trade him. When you have a guy like Howard, We have the luxury of doing that, just let him get away for nothing.

  14. 15


    Keep your best players.

  15. 16


    The Patriots traded both their back up Q.B.’s this year. What would’ve happened if Brady got hurt? Garropolo being very talented, and a player they invested a lot of time on. At the time Belichick said you have to give up something good to get something good. The Pats lost Gronk against the Jags, but were able to over come the loss. One player who made a great play in that game was Dorsett who they got by trading one of their back up Q.B.’s. The Bucs are devoid of talent across their D line, giving up a good player like Brate could help fix a need. I guess you all would rather have a team of tight ends rather then a more balanced team that can actually compete for championships.

  16. 17

    Honey Bear

    Great write up as usual, Trevor. When we drafted OJ, I was super excited and was sure we would see 2-TE at least 50% of the time. Then during the season it seemed like we barely utilized it, and when we did it was not very effective. Now seeing that we had them both on the field only 35% of the time, I wonder what the hell we are doing out there. Brate is one of our two best pass catchers. OJ has so much potential as both a receiver and blocker. Why the hell aren’t we getting our best players out there? My plan: trade DJax, get a dynamic RB (trade, FA, draft, just do it!), and play Evans, Godwin, Brate, Howard, RB on the majority of plays. This will open up a much better play action game, increase our efficiency in the red zone, etc etc. Koetter needs to get creative with it, mixing the way they line up, the routes, and so forth. Keep the defenses guessing. Our offense was so predictable and one-dimensional last year. Get an RB and keep our best guys out there. I hated that the OJ Alabama play worked perfectly the two times we ran it, yet we never ran anything even similar again all season. If a play works use it! If it stops working, then on to the next one!

    1. 17.1


      Honey Bear, not sure if any other team would pay Jackson that kind of money, plus give up a draft pick. His numbers weren’t very good this season with less speed this coming season. I believe most defensive backs were covering him pretty good. Just my opinion.

    2. 17.2


      It’s interesting. Surfer and Honey both make good poInto. I’ll try to add one.

      If you look at the $ spent on FA and draft picks in aggregate, in general when Licht spends $ he wastes it. So yes it would be great to get another high performer at a position of need, but given Licht’s demonstrated lack of ability to spend money and picks wisely, we’d be taking a huge risk letting a genuinely talented player walk in hopes of signing another one. It’s not Brate’s fault Koetter doesn’t know what to do with two good TEs. It’s an example of why we need a different coach, one who is not in over his head like K&L both are. Here’s to 2019…

  17. 18

    Buc 1976

    Brate was a good ufa! He also could bring a good defensive player with a trade.The Bucs can win either way they decided to go.

  18. 19


    I say keep him, he probably won’t ask for top pay and his chemistry with Winston is unquestionable.

  19. 20


    There’s no doubt in my mind that Brate should be resigned. His production and chemistry with Jameis are too much to give up. There will be plenty of cap space once we trim the fat with Baker and Martin.

    Howard has been impressive as a rookie and will continue to get better. The 2 TE set has worked well even without a run game. Once the RB position has been addressed…which should be this off season…the set will work extremely well with play action.

    I’m looking forward to finally being right about this being “our year.” A big part of that will hinge on how we address RB and DE this offseason.

  20. 21


    Absolutely loved getting to chat with you, Scott, and Mark on draft night, oh great manbun. I hope you guys do it again this year!!!

  21. 22


    Brate needs to be a must resign, him and Howard are a deadly combo for a defense to cover when they are both on the field plus having two good red zone and seam threats at TE is going to really help this offense out.

    Keep Howard between 250-260. I do not thing gaining 10 pounds will really hinder his explosiveness or acceleration as a receiving threat an the extra 10 pounds will help when blocking in line like he does.

    I think there should be more crossing routes either having a wr and te on one side cross or having the te’s cross and we should use more play action seam routes if our run game improves.

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