Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign TE Kyle Rudolph to one-year deal

Kyle Rudolph
"Kyle Rudolph" by Matthew Deery is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Coming off of the heels of Rob Gronkowski announcing his retirement from the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed what will seemingly be his replacement in Kyle Rudolph. While not quite having the resume of Gronk or the history with current Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, Rudolph could still put together a career revitalizing season in Tampa Bay. Brady is notorious for raising the ceiling of every pass catcher he shares the field with. With Rudolph having a checkered past when it comes to quarterback talent, playing alongside a passer like Brady could be enough to add a handful of years to his career. Looking at last season, it did not appear that there would be too many more opportunities for him to remain on a roster. He was a member of a struggling and rebuilding New York Giants team that was not looking to keep a veteran tight end around. As a result of this, Rudolph did not get the ball as much as he has become accustomed to over his career. He finished the 2021-2022 season with only 26 receptions for 257 yards and a touchdown. It will be interesting to see where he will land on the depth chart when he arrives in Tampa Bay. With Cameron Brate already being on the roster, Rudolph may end up being a tight end that comes off of the bench, however, he could turn heads at training camp or hit things off with Brady and be the day one starter.

Losing Rob Gronkowski

As previously mentioned, Rudolph will be joining the team to replace Rob Gronkowski after he recently announced his retirement. While a slight downgrade, Rudolph will still be capable of filling Gronk’s role on the team. 

What Kyle Rudolph will bring to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rudolph is a perfect fit on this Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster. They are a team that is filled with and led by veteran players. Tampa has become a bit of a retirement home with all of the vets that they have on the team. This is likely the same path that Rudolph will take. He will ride out the remaining years of his NFL career playing alongside the best quarterback of all time and contending for Super Bowls. Rudolph is still capable of making big plays even at 32 years of age. Last season with the Giants, he had the longest reception of his career at 60 yards. Along with this, he is a reliable pass catcher and statistically more reliable than his predecessor Rob Gronkowski. Last season, Gronk had a catch percentage of 61.8% and over his career has had a catch percentage of 64.7%. On the flip side, Rudolph had a catch percentage of 66.7% last season and a catch percentage of 68.0% over his 12-year career. In Gronk’s defense, he has been targeted 256 more times over both players’ twelve years in the league. Rudolph will not have a huge role on this Bucs team, however, he is a great replacement for Gronk and could be another reliable weapon in Brady’s arsenel.