Just yesterday, former Bucs’ tight end Rob Gronkowski confirmed that he would remain retired and not go back to football.
With it seeming more and more likely like Gronk is indeed retired for good, the Bucs are left with a not-so-small hole at the position.
Yes, Tampa Bay still has Cameron Brate on the roster, but Brate is not Gronk, and even with the Bucs drafting two tight ends in this year’s draft (Cade Otton and Ko Kieft) they are not expected to play a significant role due to needing to develop further.
With that, the Bucs have been mentioned again and again when it comes to signing a veteran TE that is still on the market as a free agent.
Former Bucs scout, Jets executive, and linebackers coach, Pat Kirwan, was on SiriusXM NFL Radio to discuss what the Bucs’ options are regarding the tight end position.
“Without [Gronk] running that little Y-choice route, it’s really going to be a lot of pressure on the slot receiver for Brady to have what he wants. He always likes something right in front of him.” “[Brady will] work with those two rookies for about a week and then decide if he thinks they’re ready to help.”
Kirwan also states that if the newly drafted rookies aren’t ready for the NFL quite yet and Gronk remains retired the Bucs will look to add a veteran tight end that is still on the market.
The one tight end that he mentions above all the rest is former New Orleans Saints standout, Jared Cook.
Over his career, Cook has 553 receptions for 7,237 yards and 45 touchdowns with 2 Pro Bowl appearances. He has played with the likes of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert, and Dereck Carr so he would seemingly be able to build a rapport quickly with Tom Brady.
Cook is a veteran tight end that has shown balance at the position while also being an above-average pass catcher. Bringing him in would sure up the tight end position in Gronk’s wake and would not be a huge hit to the Bucs’ $12 million in cap space as he played on a $4.5 million deal last season with the Los Angeles Chargers.