The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a great deal of depth at tight end making key players a bit more expendable. Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon suggests the Bucs make a trade with the Texans for starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins.
The proposed trade has the Buccaneers sending either Cameron Brate or a day-three pick to the Texans for Collins. Brate would be a starter for most teams, but the Buccaneers also have Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Tanner Hudson and Codey McElroy on the roster as well.
“The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not want to attempt to fix what ain’t broke,” Gagnon detailed. “However, Vita Vea missed extensive time last year and came into camp above the team’s target weight for him, while Ndamukong Suh is running out of gas at 34.
“In other words, they could use a boost at defensive tackle, even if it’s just increased depth for the time being. That could come via Collins, who has become a bit of a journeyman but is still a solid player with plenty of starting experience and remains just 26 years old.”
The Buccaneers Are Facing Some Difficult Roster Decisions at Tight End
Collins is not an upgrade over Vita Vea but gives the team a bit of depth to pair with Rakeem Nunez-Roches at the position. Vea missed the majority of last season with an ankle injury but was able to return for the postseason.
Collins posted 15 tackles in 12 games for the Raiders last season and is a projected starter in Houston heading into Week 1. The Bucs could potentially net a better return for Brate than Collins. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians expressed his confidence with the team’s current rotation of tight ends.
“It’s a great room,” Arians noted on August 23rd, per Buccaneers.com. “O.J. [Howard] is going to get there; he’s still rusty. When Cam [Brate] was out there it was like, ‘Whoa, we’ve got a bunch of tight ends, you know?’ And then when Cam is missing, we’re still good. It’s a solid room. Yeah, I’m really pleased with that room.”
The Buccaneers are not in cost-cutting mode as long as Tom Brady is at quarterback, but the trade proposal saves the team $1.3 million. Tampa Bay is unlikely to be able to keep this talented group of tight ends intact with roster cuts approaching.
“The Texans are a mess and might figure they’ll lose Collins when he hits free agency again next offseason anyway,” Gagnon added. “And this scenario would give the Bucs a chance to save $1.3 million on Brate in favor of Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard. Otherwise, something like a sixth-round pick should be enough to get the job done.”
TE Tanner Hudson Is on the Roster Bubble
Hudson has been one of the Buccaneers players that has flashed during training camp, but Arians has also been critical of the tight end in the preseason. Arians emphasized that Hudson will need to show he is a capable blocker to earn a roster spot.
“Ever since we’ve been here he’s been able to catch the ball. He gives our defense fits on the card team,” Arians noted. “When he’s had opportunities in ballgames they haven’t quite been the same. I want to see him do something besides preseason and do something besides catch the ball. He’s not a wide receiver. He’s a tight end, so you’ve got to be able to block a little bit. But just see him grow in that regard and be a physical presence on special teams with his size and his speed.”