The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the offseason with some question marks about the tight end position. O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski were both free agents.
Howard signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills, while Gronkowski remains unsigned. Cameron Brate could be in for a big role in 2022 and Tampa Bay could rely on some youngsters as well. Two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft were used on tight ends, as the Buccaneers selected Code Otton out of Washington at No. 104 and Ko Kieft out of Minnesota with pick No. 218.
In an ideal world, the Buccaneers won’t have to rely on those rookies too much, allowing them to develop and come along at their own pace. That very well could be the case, as the team received a positive update on Gronkowski’s status.
Gronkowski hasn’t given any indication about his plans, whether it is coming back for a 12th season or going back into retirement. However, it seems as if he may be leaning toward coming back, as he has continued working out with Tom Brady.
Brady retired for a few weeks himself earlier this offseason but decided that he wanted to return for a third season in Tampa Bay. His return certainly improved the chances of Gronkowski’s return, who was coaxed out of his retirement by Brady in 2020 to join him on the Buccaneers.
Brady likes to prepare for the regular season on his own, regularly setting up passing camps with other veterans on the team. It is something that he has done throughout his time with the Buccaneers to work on building chemistry and cohesion with his pass-catchers.
Tampa Bay will begin its mandatory veteran minicamp on June 7th and it runs through June 9th. Brady will certainly be there as he is under contract, but Gronkowski’s attendance is up in the air.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times believes that Gronkowski could opt to wait until after that veteran’s minicamp before making his decision. No one would blame him, as Gronkowski has no issues keeping in shape away from the team. The offseason can sometimes be tedious for veterans, so if he wants to wait until things really pick up in training camp to return, it wouldn’t be too surprising.