Will The Bucs Begin Hunting A Bargain Tight End?

May 21st, 2022

Bracing for a Gronk-less Bucs.

So the watch party continues for Bucs foot-rubbing free agent tight end Rob Gronkowski. Will he or won’t he return?

Gronk was in town Thursday. He was continuing to celebrate his birthday that was last Saturday. Gronk had posts on his Instagram stories account where he was eating a birthday cookie the size of a medium pizza, and later in the evening he was having a steak dinner at a gambling parlor located east of Tampa on I-4.

No updates on his social media accounts since, as Joe is typing this here post at midnight.

The way Marc Sessler of NFL.com sees it, the Bucs better hope Gronk is in town to sign a contract. Otherwise, Sessler believes the Bucs are in a world of hurt at tight end.

Rob Gronkowski looms as a final piece of the puzzle for a run-it-back Bucs team determined to land one more ring. The 33-year-old tight end “remains undecided” about his future with newly minted coach Todd Bowles saying no timetable exists on a potential return. Following O.J. Howard’s exit, the position is thin, with reliable Cam Brate ahead of fourth-round rookie Cade Otton and sixth-rounder Ko Kieft. Gronk is … undoubtedly fielding endless sweet nothings from Tom Brady about their shared future. It feels like a matter of time.

Well, it is not like Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has not addressed the position. He drafted two tight ends, one of which appears to be a nasty blocker (from his college video). And it’s not like Cam Brate is some stuff, but yeah, he’s not much of a blocker.

One could suggest a reason Licht hasn’t gone out and grabbed a veteran tight end (yet) is that he is confident Gronk will return. As for what veteran tight ends the Bucs could target, JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman wrote a whole column about it.

36 Responses to “Will The Bucs Begin Hunting A Bargain Tight End?”

  1. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    I believe Gronk & Suh will be back. If you are Licht and you already have an understanding with representation & player based on what you can do with the salary cap. What is the big hurry? Just don’t have any jet ski accidents in the meantime.

  2. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Gronk is on the verge of setting league records at his position as an individual, and as a tandem with Brady. He’s not going to let that opportunity slip away. It’s all fake drama. Address needs on defense. Gronk is a lock.

  3. Bird Says:


    Gronk is back. Some people Are lucky to have their boys to the end
    Marriage And kids happen

    Gronk and brady are connected

  4. SOEbuc Says:

    It’s certainly WIN NOW!!! this year. Got two good looking TE in the draft. That is some fresh legs for Gronk, especially Keife being the sixth man on the line.

  5. adam from ny Says:

    i’m hearing brady is demanding jensen uses shamwow’s now instead of normal towels and powder…

    a shamwow is the new towel at one buc place 🙂

  6. RandsABucFan Says:

    I don’t think Gronk will be back. There were many times last season when he looked stiff and visibly struggling with his legs. I think giving our new young tight end Otton opportunities may surprise us all.

  7. Stanglassman Says:

    From coaches reactions to questions regarding Suh I don’t expect him to be back. Maybe if they don’t see much from Hall or There’s injuries at DT. I’m not saying this is what I want just what the indicators are saying.
    It seems to be much more likely Gronk returns. My guess is 75%. Tom didn’t free up the cap space without him in mind.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    I second what 1sparkybuc said on this one: ‘It’s all fake drama. Address needs on defense’.

    Gronk has the opportunity here to make someplace around $10 mil with the Bucs for part-time work AND to cement his legacy. JL drafted 2 TEs for a purpose: BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK; lightens that load on Gronk, and blocking is what took the toll. He’ll be back, but there’s no hurry.

    Bucs much bigger problem is DEFENSE, and specifically the Front-7. If either LVD or White goes down, who steps in? Minter is gone, so it’s Britt, Stuard, Russell or Fatukasi … with 54 defensive snaps in garbage time among them. LVD or White gets more than that in a single game. Concerning? Should be.

    Closer to the front we’ve lost Suh, JPP & McLendon, and replaced them with … rookie Logan Hall. So far, that’s it. Back in our SB year (2020), those 3 ‘old-timers’ combined for 1994 def snaps in 41 games, 116 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 33 QB Hits, 18 TFLs, 2 INT, 9 PDs, 5 FF and 2 FRs. That’s a LOT of production, and that’s what it takes to win Super Bowls.

    In 2021 those same 3 combined for 1571 def snaps in 41 games, 69 tackles, 9 sacks, 23 QB Hits, 11 TFLs, 1 INT, 4 PDs, 2 FF and 1 FR. No question that’s a sizable drop in production, but much of it came because JPP was playing with 1 arm last year. IOW our lack of depth hurt us, big time (Bucs’ coaches must’ve felt though that a 1-armed JPP was better than the alternatives they had available to them). Obviously wasn’t good enough.

    JTS, Gholston, RNR & Nelson will all get more snaps and hopefully fill some of that lost production, but expecting rookie Logan Hall to supply the majority of the production provided by all 3 of those stalwarts is pure fantasy. Bottom line for filling the gap in our up-front defense is simple: bring back Suh for starters.

  9. stpetebucsfan Says:


    In a society that has devalued nuance you still get the subtleties.

    “JL drafted 2 TEs for a purpose: BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK; lightens that load on Gronk, and blocking is what took the toll.”

    I’m curious as to how you think we’d use all these stars on offense. I think Playoff Lennie has been terrific, Vaughn showed improvement, the new rookie and I watch Bernard do more than just catch the ball at Cincinnati. How do we divide up those touches.

    Same at TE…Gronk..who will almost certainly relinquish some blocking duty..not Brate’s forte but if the rumors are correct one of our TE draft picks is a monster blocking.

    I wonder how you feel about the yin and the yang…if you have an uber flexible lineup generally it’s used situationally….but that of course makes for predictiability and ease in scouting…then again if you are “predictable” you do keep an ace in the hole by doing something “unexpected”.

  10. Brazen Zebra Says:

    Gronk your an effing clown! Get serious dude and sign!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … ‘Nuances’? ‘Subtleties’? LMAO; I’ve been told I’m about as subtle as a sharp stick in the eye. Love smashmouth football, and there’s not much subtle about that.

    Todd Bowles is excellent IMO at capitalizing on players’ strengths and minimizing their weaknesses on defense. I think we’ll see much of the same on offense. Lenny provides max flexibility IMO, and he’ll see the lion’s share of the snaps. White & Gio will battle it out for 2nd-most, with the one providing the best pass protection getting the most snaps (they can both catch). Still not impressed with Vaughn, but I hope he comes on strong.

    Keeping the snaps down for the older vets like Gronk (and Brate) to keep them ‘fresher’ will be critical I think, and that’ll be where Otton & Kieft will come in. Good chance that they’ll both get to touch the rock, but not all that much. Major role will be to take up the blocking slack (no deception there; that’s the ‘sharp stick in the eye’ aka ‘smashmouth football’ approach). BTW I also think we’ll see Kieft in a FB role at times this season (Remember TE Todd Yoder? Played a lot of FB for us. Yoder was 6’4″ & 262 … Otton is 6’5″ & 265. Big tough guys can pull it off).

  12. TDTB Says:

    Why would he be in town if he’s not planning to rejoin. Love Tampa but be can celebrate his birthday in some much cooler places.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Love my “Gronk-a-day” articles………”fake drama”……good take.

    Is there anyone here that really think he’s not coming back?

  14. TheBradyBunch Says:

    Hey DR and Sparky, Gronk already retired once when he could have come back to the Pats when Brady was his QB. He had cracked ribs last year and got beat up pretty good. My guess is his family and common sense is telling him to retire. My guess is he is still unsure about what to do.

  15. BUCman Says:

    Gronk will be back! This is not a concern. The concern should be DL & depth at ILB. Suh should be brought back for one more year allowing Hall to be a rotational player in his first year like they did with JTS last year. If Suh is not back, it is expecting too much for Hall to be “the man” full time. At ILB we are extremely thin behind David and White. With White still recovering from injury it seems very risky that they haven’t signed a good replacement for Minter even if they like K.J. Britt’s progress.

  16. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    May 21st, 2022 at 7:29 am
    Love my “Gronk-a-day” articles………”fake drama”……good take.

    Is there anyone here that really think he’s not coming back?

    Of course he is coming back, but when he gets ready, on his timetable!

  17. Hodad Says:

    You could also say they only drafted one TE, because I think Ko K. was brought in to play FB. Think about it, who gives the Rams fits? The 49ers, they use a FB, in comes Ko K. Even for when we play the Saints, Ko K. isn’t going to be catching passes. He was brought in to pound Cam Jordan on the line. Ko meet Cam.

  18. Lou in srq Says:

    Any Adam,
    Perhaps Jensen needs to throw in the towel, and switch to Depends. The reinforced potty pad will absorb the sweat, and surround Tom Brady’s hands with cotton like softness.
    I can see it now …Jensen and Brady become pitchmen ( or is it now politically corrected to pitch people) for adult undies…Jensen stating his ass and balls are comfy dry, Brady saying they my hands are always dry now ..Thanks Depends!

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    TheBradyBunch … If Brady had stayed retired, no question in my mind that Gronk would’ve called it a day. But when Brady ‘unretired’, Gronk couldn’t resist 1 more spin of the wheel. He’ll be back is my prediction, but not for cheap & not playing as many snaps as last year.

  20. SB~LV Says:

    Lumbering Gronk (TB’s blankie ) will be back.

  21. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Gronk has had one foot out the door for the last several seasons

  22. Austin Says:

    We would be completely boned without Cam Brate, He’s the Will Gholston of our offense. Been here forever, reliable, makes plays. Solid

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    One of the main reasons Gronk will be back is because he wants to go into the HoF in the same class as his bestest forever buddy.

  24. SOEbuc Says:


    Exactly. If Gronk knows something else about Brady’s future, he might retire. If Gronk knows this is Brady’s last year in the NFL, he will want to retire with him. Fox will get them in the booth. F-you Joe and Troy, new breeds in.

  25. Bojim Says:

    Gronk wouldn’t keep the Bugs hanging this long. One more season for him and Tom.

  26. ChiBuc Says:

    Cookies the size of a pizza and no training camp, but more money and less snaps? Hmmm, Thank you, may I have another.

    We saw how gronk’s return to football with the bucs began out of shape and pretty mediocre. We also saw a big drop (pun intended) in consistency as the season wore him out. He’s great, but can we envision a world without him? I can. This voyeuristic man watch of gronk is getting a bit needy for my taste.

    Priorities… in the immortal words of #8, and through the wisdom from many of you. “SUH!”

  27. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Love Gronk but I’m sick of this drama.
    The Brady retirement/un retirement was more than enough drama.

  28. Allbuccedup Says:

    Gronk needs to be given a date so the team can move forward with or without him. June the 1st would be fair.

  29. Defy9Ordinary Says:

    #LFG have some faith folks! Believe in the process #Team, #thaGOAT & #RobbyG.

  30. GOB Says:

    I expect Gronk to return, but that doesn’t fix the problem at TE. The man is a walking blue tent, a year older and was awful in the loss to the Rams. He simply can’t be counted on. He’s probably asking for 8-10 million. He’s missed 14 games over his two seasons in Tampa. If Licht gives him anything but a massively incentive laden deal, like BA says “bad bidness”

  31. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Ricky seals Jones was available in FA and could have been signed for 1 million-there is your experienced TE-ask Licht why the Bucs did not scoop him up??

  32. David Says:

    Gronk will be back.

    More concerned about SUH or getting some other DT

  33. Sask Bucs Fan Says:

    I hope Gronk comes back. Dude is still a stud and awesome to have on the team. Anyone that doesn’t like Gronk is….

  34. steele Says:

    DEFENSE must be addressed. $ needs to be cleared for it.

    The Gronk problem is still an issue even if he comes back. How long before he pulls up gimpy again? Is he back for one season only? They have to address TE regardless, unfortunately. Is Brate going to suddenly become all-world? Otton is still recovering. Ko ban block and surprise, but that’s a lot to ask.

    Will they go for a Kyle Rudolph/Jared Cook/Ebron type?

  35. stpetebucsfan Says:


    “Ko meet Cam.” Amen brother!

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    Gronk, the best TE in NFL history, will be back.
    But will probably wait until Training camp is almost over.
    Yeah, skipping training camp in Florida, in July.
    Thats what Id do