Kyle Rudolph signs with Buccaneers: Tom Brady gets two-time Pro Bowler to replace Rob Gronkowski, report says

With Rob Gronkowski officially retired, the Buccaneers were in serious need of tight end help, and they added that help Wednesday night with the signing of Kyle Rudolph.

According at ESPN, the two-time Pro Bowler has agreed to the terms of a one-year deal with Tampa Bay, which means Tom Brady now has another offensive weapon. Rudolph will add major NFL experience to a tight room that was sorely lacking. Prior to his signing, the Buccaneers had only one tight end on the roster (Cameron Brate) who had more than one career catch. Besides Brate, the Buccaneers tight end squad consists of two rookies (Cade Otton and Ko Kieft) and Codey McElroy, who has a career hold that returned in 2019.

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The Tampa Bay tight end took a major hit in June when Gronk decided to retire. However, the Buccaneers didn’t come out and sign anyone to replace him right away, and that may have been because they weren’t sure if he was actually going to stay retired. Over the past five weeks, the two his agent (Drew Rosenhaus) and his girlfriend (Camille Kostek) have both said they could see Gronk return to football this year.

As for Gronk, he’s been insisting for a month that he’s going to stay retired, and he doubled down on those statements during a Appearance Wednesday on “Good Morning America”.

“I will not return to football,” Gronk said. “I’m ready.”

With Gronk sounding like he’s definitely done, the Buccaneers started to show some interest to Rudolph just last week. Ultimately, Tampa Bay ended up signing a deal with Rudolph.

Rudolph is a longtime veteran who has been in the league for 11 years. His first 10 seasons came with the Vikings and during that time he was voted to two Pro Bowls. In 2016, he led the team in touchdown catches (seven) and was second in receptions (83).

After a decade in Minnesota, he moved to New York in 2021, where he played one season with the Giants. While Rudolph wasn’t great in his first year with the Giants last season, it’s hard to blame him since no one in that offense really thrived last year.

The 32-year-old has finished with at least 330 receiving yards in six of his last seven seasons, and if he can hit that number in Tampa, the Buccaneers would probably be happy. Rudolph, who has caught at least four touchdowns in five of his last seven seasons, could also become a red zone weapon for Brady.

The veteran Tampa Bay players will report to training camp on July 26, which means Rudolph signed just in time to join them.

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