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Cameron Brate

Bucs releasing veteran tight end

An ESPN report indicates the Bucs will release Cameron Brate. I don’t know that they’ll miss him much.

Originally making it into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard, Brate has had a nice career. He’s played nine years, and there was a stretch where he was an effective red-zone option, catching 20 touchdowns in the 2016-18 seasons. He was on the team that beat Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

But I think Brate’s days as a starter-type player are over. The Bucs were looking to get rid of Brate’s $5 million salary cap hit, but I don’t think they were interested in bringing him back at a lower price tag. Tampa Bay drafted Cade Otton and Ko Kieft last year, and I think they’re looking to transition to those guys.

Modestly sized, Brate has never been a big-time blocker, and his effectiveness as a receiver has declined in recent years. He’s caught only 53 percent of the passes thrown his way over the last two years, averaging only 4.4 yards per pass play – shockingly bad production considering he was working with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position. Thirty one other tight ends have seen at least 80 targets the last two years, and they’ve all caught a lot more of the passes thrown their way and for a lot more yards. (All but 2 have averaged at least 2 more yards per target, and all but two have caught at least 61 percent of their targets.)

I don’t think Brate is going to re-emerge as a factor with a new team.

Dallas Goedert, Phil.1451111532776.6%10.6
George Kittle, S.F.18013116751772.8%9.3
Rob Gronkowski, T.B.8955802661.8%9.0
Travis Kelce, K.C.28620224632170.6%8.6
Mark Andrews, Balt.26618022081467.7%8.3
Hunter Henry, N.E.1349111121167.9%8.3
David Njoku, Cle.133941103870.7%8.3
Kyle Pitts, Atl.169961382356.8%8.2
Jordan Akins, Hou.8761709570.1%8.1
Dawson Knox, Buff.1369711041571.3%8.1
Foster Moreau, L.V.9863793564.3%8.1
C.J. Uzomah, Cin.-NYJ9070725777.8%8.1
Darren Waller, L.V.136831053561.0%7.7
Juwan Johnson, N.O.87556671163.2%7.7
Noah Fant, Den.-Sea.1531181156877.1%7.6
Dalton Schultz, Dall.19313513851369.9%7.2
Cole Kmet, Chi.1621101156767.9%7.1
T.J. Hockenson, Det.-Min.21314714971069.0%7.0
Robert Tonyan, G.B.9671674474.0%7.0
Mike Gesicki, Mia.1641051142764.0%7.0
Pat Freiermuth, Pitt.1771231229969.5%6.9
Gerald Everett, Sea.-LAC1501061033870.7%6.9
Evan Engram, NYG-Jac.1711191174769.6%6.9
Jared Cook, LAC8348564457.8%6.8
Tyler Conklin, Min.-NYJ1741191145668.4%6.6
Austin Hooper, Atl.-Ten.12179789565.3%6.5
Jonnu Smith, N.E.8355539166.3%6.5
Zach Ertz, Phi.-Ari.1811211169966.9%6.5
Hayden Hurst, Atl.-Cin.9978635578.8%6.4
Tyler Higbee, LAR1931331180868.9%6.1
Logan Thomas, Was.8657519466.3%6.0
Cameron Brate, T.B.9550419452.6%4.4

—Ian Allan

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