Photo via Minnesota Vikings
The Bucs decided that Cameron Brate needed some competition for that starting tight end position, so they went out and signed former Viking Kyle Rudolph.
The veteran tight end is a big body red zone target, coming in at 6’6 and hauling in 49 TDs through his decade-long career.
Rudolph made a pair of Pro Bowl teams during his tenure in Minnesota, and while last year’s production certainly did not come anywhere close to what the former Notre Dame man has shown in his earlier years, his best days are probably behind him.
He’s 32 years old and will be 33 in November, and the last time he eclipsed 400 receiving yards was 2018. The good news is that the guy seems to take care of his body, only missing four games since 2015.
For comparison, Gronk missed 5 games last season alone.
While the drop off in production will certainly be noticeable, and the tremendous blocking services Gronk provided be sorely missed, Rudolph is not a poor replacement. Plus, he had to play with quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, and most recently Daniel Jones.
Tom Brady will be a bit of a step up.
Hopefully it leads to a renaissance year for Rudolph, and we’ll be talking about this signing as one of the more underrated moves of the offseason for the Bucs as they win another Super Bowl.