Possible Trade Lands Buccaneers & Tom Brady 2-Time Pro Bowl Weapon

Austin Hooper

Getty The Buccaneers could be a landing spot for TE Austin Hooper.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be the perfect landing spot for a two-time Pro Bowl offensive weapon.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, Tennessee Titans tight end Austin Hooper could be a potential option for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is clearly missing Rob Gronkowski as Cameron Brate and rookies Ko Kieft and Cade Otton have failed to step up in his absence. Buccaneers tight ends have combined for just three receptions for 20 yards during the first two games of the season, as Knox notes.

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested in a pass-catching tight end like Hooper,” says Knox. “Rob Gronkowski remains retired, while Cade Otton and Cameron Brate have combined for only three receptions and 20 yards. Tampa has $5.4 million in cap space available.”

Titans Simply Not Using Hooper in Passing Game

Veteran Kyle Rudolph — who was signed prior to the start of the season to help replace Gronkowski — has been inactive for the first two games of the season.

By comparison, Gronkowski averaged nearly five receptions for almost 67 receiving yards per game last season.

As noted by Knox, Hooper is a proven pass-catching option, once posting 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns during the 2019 season with the Atlanta Falcons. However, he hasn’t been used in the Titans offense early on in the season.

“With A.J. Brown gone, Hooper should be a go-to target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill,” says Knox. “However, he’s seen little action in the passing game, tallying only two receptions for 25 yards on six targets through two games. If Tennessee can’t get back on track quickly, it should look to see what it can receiver for Hooper in a trade.”

Buccaneers Offense Sees Major Regression in 2022

While the Buccaneers have managed to get off to a 2-0 start this season, their offense has struggled. Tampa Bay has averaged just 19.5 points over the first two games of the season, ranking 18th in the league. One of those touchdowns scored was actually a 68-yard interception return from Mike Edwards during the Buccaneers’ 20-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The 2021 Buccaneers averaged 30.1 points per game while the 2020 Buccaneers averaged 30.8 points per game. In other words, Tampa Bay’s offense lacks a lot of firepower in comparison to the previous two seasons. A lot of that has to do with the lack of threat coming from the tight end position.

The Titans are currently 0-2 and they don’t look anywhere near the team that they were a season ago when they clinched the AFC’s No. 1 seed. They’ve already lost to the New York Giants — a team that went 4-13 during the 2021 season — and were blown out by the Buffalo Bills, 41-7, in Week 2.

The fact that Hooper hasn’t been utilized by a team looking for a No. 1 option following the trade of A.J. Brown during the offseason is rather concerning. Considering the Titans may quickly be looking at this season as a rebuilding year — they drafted quarterback Malik Willis in the third round this year — the idea of unloading Hooper to a stagnant Bucs offense becomes a viable option.

Considering Hooper hasn’t been a top option since his 2019 season with the Falcons — he posted just 38 receptions for 345 receiving yards with the Cleveland Browns while sharing snaps with David Njoku and Harrison Bryant — he could likely be acquired for low draft capital such as a sixth-round draft pick.

If the Buccaneers continue to receive low production from their current stable of tight ends, Tampa Bay should consider Hooper. However, the Buccaneers would likely have to make a roster move to make that happen, such as potentially releasing Kieft.






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