Is Bruce Arians Blowing A Smokescreen?

June 29th, 2022

If the Bucs are considering signing a veteran tight end like Kyle Rudolph or Jared Cook, then it’s in their best interest to put the word out that the team is satisfied with its current crop of tight ends.

A team has no leverage with a free agent if it’s out there begging or declaring a major weakness.

With Rob Gronkowski retired(?), the Bucs have a Hall of Fame hole at tight end — blocking and in the passing game. Some call it “a problem;” others think it’s not a season-breaker issue.

Yesterday, Bucco Bruce Arians was talking to columnist Ira Kaufman and acknowledged the loss of Gronk, but Arians quickly shared his enthusiasm for the Bucs’ unimpressive crop of tight ends.

“But I really like the room right now. I love the young kids we’ve got in there and Cam Brate’s a good veteran player that Tom really trusts,” Arians said. “Now, he’s not Gronk. That size and what he brings as a blocker and receiver I think is unmatched. You don’t replace that guy, but we also have Codey McElroy … I think it’s time for him to break out as a receiver.”

To recap, cynically, Brate caught 52.6 percent of the balls thrown his way last season, the worst rate of his career by far. Rookie sixth-round pick Ko Kieft, a blocking tight end, hasn’t put on pads yet, and fellow rookie Cade Otton (fourth round) hasn’t practiced. McElroy, well, he’s hung around the Bucs for three years and has caught one pass from Jameis Winston. (For those wondering, Tanner Hudson plays for the 49ers and O.J. Howard has Bills fans nervous.)

But Arians really likes the room, loves the rookies and thinks a breakout year is in store for McElroy, who turns 30 in December.

Smokescreen, anyone?

Joe hasn’t lost sight of this being an all-in season, one that may be Tom Brady’s last. Therefore, Joe expects a Plan B — a veteran tight end signing or Gronk shuffling in before the Bucs head to Germany, or both.

29 Responses to “Is Bruce Arians Blowing A Smokescreen?”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    Your Plan B is likely going to happen.

  2. Tampabaybucfsn Says:


  3. geno711 Says:

    I wonder if the Bucs just bring in someone cheap like Chris Herndon.

    Drafted by the Jets in 2018, he had his best season in the one year that Bowles was there as the Jets HC.

    Choices still available:
    Jared Cook
    Kyle Rudolph
    Eric Ebron
    Will Dissly
    Chris Herndon
    Blake Jarwin

  4. #8 Says:


  5. Bird Says:

    Bring in cook for the saints playbook 😂
    Saints got ours

  6. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Arians is just being Arians, so, yes it’s a smokescreen. He can’t honestly believe they are complete as is.

  7. Steven007 Says:

    8, to the best of my knowledge Suh doesn’t play tight end.

  8. Pewter Power Says:

    BA has always done this, he’s not supposed to say gronk loss killed our season hopes and we are desperately looking at veteran tight ends to sign. Yes I hope it’s a smokescreen 😒

  9. DBS Says:

    Somebody did not get the message from Suh.. “He mentioned HE will NOT be returning to the Bucs in 2022”.

  10. mark2001 Says:

    Hey, it may be a smokescreen, and maybe it isn’t. I personally don’t care. However how the young guys develop and what they contribute on the field? I care. But since Bruce knows a thousand times what I do about football, I sure as heck wouldn’t tell him he is wetting on my leg and trying to tell me it is raining.

  11. Stone crab sam Says:

    Suh said; ‘it looks like I won’t be returning to tampa’.
    As he remains unsigned currently.
    Personally, I agree with 8.
    Sign suh.
    It’s a priority.
    Tight ends, except for a select few, they grow on trees.

  12. Tnoles Says:

    Or maybe they know something we don’t? Maybe Gronk plans on coming back at some point this season so, no reason to sign someone. I think if they sign a TE that means Gronk’s retirement is real if they don’t I think that is a tell that Gronk will be back at some point.

  13. mark2001 Says:

    Tnoles. I said that a week ago… look at if and when we bring in another vet. To me that is the key. If we do, that means Gronk is out, period. But we still haven’t had forty days and forty nights of retirement yet.

  14. Biff Barker Says:

    The way Gronk has handled this whole retirement situation really diminishes his contributions here. TB12 as well.

    Losing sucks, bit if this is the price of winning, I think ill just quit the NFL again.

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    Geno I believe Dissly is under contract with the seahawks.

  16. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I can remember how dominate Jimmy Graham could be, at one time.
    He was so dominate we actually drafted players capable of handling him, hopefully.
    If he has anything left, Brady to Graham is an interesting idea.

  17. Allbuccedup Says:

    Then again if seattle is going thru a firesale they may be willing to trade one of their tight ends they don’t exactly have a QB to throw to them anyway.

  18. Allbuccedup Says:

    What ever happened to Matt Lacosse?

  19. SPARKY Says:

    Maybe this is what’s happening. Gronk sees what other top TEs are making. He says he wants $14 million. Bucs say we can’t, not enough cap space. Gronk says ok, I want to run around partying with Camille and skip training camp, so how about $7 million for half a year. Gronk gets healthier, doesn’t get a injury in the first half of season, helps the cap space, and helps win a super bowl.

  20. hammerhead Says:

    Come on ya’ll, Gronk and Sun are gone. Get over it. We will sign a vet Tight End. We have to. In TB’s last year we can’t have just Brate and rookies and a gimpy Godwin. They are scouring the free agents and trying to extract this most reasonable offer among those who are available. Desperation doesn’t come cheap.

  21. Buc4evr Says:

    Suh, JPP and Gronk. Whatever it takes for Gronk. Our TE’s are going to get Brady killed.

  22. Allbuccedup Says:

    Agree with hammerhead Brate, rookies, gimpy Godwin and a weakened left side of the line. They definitely need veteran TE who can block on the left side to help Smith and the new guard.

  23. adam from ny Says:

    brady will have to decide fast what he’s got in otton when pads come on

  24. adam from ny Says:

    i don’t think gronk should come back if he sits out the rams game, then pops back in right after that…

    come back before the rams game, or stay retired…

    if you really are a buccaneers man and plan on playing this season, at all, you do not avoid the rams game then come back for the rest of the season

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    At the end of the day, we have to embrace the fact that we are going to HAVE to replace these guys at some point. If it’s time to move on, we move on. Gronk is welcome back, always! But, if not Gronk, we should let the “youngins'” cut their teeth.

  26. Crickett Baker Says:

    Gronk already retired once and Brady pulled him out but it was pretty obvious that he wanted out of football even then. I really doubt he will come back again, but, of course, it would be great.

  27. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The first time Gronk retired, he went to the wwe. He failed there, even though they did their best to promote him.

    Then Brady came to Tampa, Gronk wanted to play, and the wwe got out of the contract.

    But…he also waited as long as possible to make it official. Why? Camps and OTAs.

    We’re probably going to see the same thing here. He will only play for Tampa, but unless he retired he would keep getting calls from other teams.

    This way frees him up to chill. Before camp, we’ll start seeing stories of Brady tossing the ball to him somewhere.

    So no, we do not need a TE. We’ll have Gronk by training camp.

    As to Brate…his numbers were down because he played injured all year. Supposedly he’s fully healthy for the first time in a while.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    As to Suh…I personally feel we need him more than we need Gronk, but it will end up being Gronk eventually.

    I would give up on the new guys on the OL. Licht has an eye for OL talent in the draft and undrafted free agents.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Biff Barker, you sound like neither a Bucs’ fan or a fan of football.