The Buccaneers and Brate agreed to a six-year, $41 million contract Monday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Set to be a restricted free agent Wednesday, Brate avoided a tender and instead was granted a long-term commitment from the organization that took a chance on him as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He's been a nice safety net for Jameis Winston the past two seasons, accruing 14 touchdowns and averaging 7.9 yards per target among his 105 receptions (on 158 targets). Brate's contract follows Mike Evans' huge extension last week, but the tight end may continue to yield snaps to 2017 first-round pick O.J. Howard (ankle) over the course of this new deal.
Brate brought in three of five targets for 37 yards in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Saints. Brate finished an up-and-down 2017 campaign in relatively modest fashion, posting three receptions for the second straight week. The 26-year-old went through a forgettable six-game stretch during Weeks 9-14 in which he posted a modest seven receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He bounced back to bring in 10 of 14 targets for 99 yards in the final three contests of the season, as he clearly seemed to enjoy a better rapport with Jameis Winston than he did with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the first half of the campaign, Brate essentially provided the same caliber of production as he had during his breakout 2016, as first-round pick O.J. Howard surprisingly was utilized much more as a blocker and receiver. However, Howard did start coming on as a consistent downfield threat in the latter portion of the season before succumbing to an ankle injury in Week 15, so it remains to be seen what effect his presence will have on Brate's targets from the onset of the 2018 season.
Brate (hip, knee) is officially active for Sunday's Week 17 tilt against the Saints, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. Brate's status was fully expected after he wrapped up the week with full practice participation. The third-year pro will look to close out what has been an inconsistent season on a high note, and he should have an opportunity for a solid amount of targets with DeSean Jackson (ankle) inactive and fellow tight end O.J. Howard on injured reserve with an ankle injury of his own.
Brate (hip/knee) was a full practice participant Friday but nonetheless is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Saints, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. After sitting out Wednesday and practicing on a limited basis Thursday, the tight end closed out his week with a full session. He should be fine for Sunday's game, looking to rebound from a 13-yard outing last week against the Panthers in the first game since O.J. Howard (ankle) was ruled out for the year. Brate should be a bit more involved this time around, but he'll facing a New Orlean defense that's given up an NFL-low 529 receiving yards to tight ends.
Brate (hip/knee) was a limited practice participant Thursday, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Following Wednesday's DNP, Brate took a baby step toward active status in the season finale with an appearance Thursday. If he gains clearance before Sunday's 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, he should serve as the Buccaneers' No. 1 tight end with O.J. Howard (ankle) on injured reserve. However, Antony Auclair and Alan Cross are waiting in the wings in the event Brate sits out as well.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||5||5.22|
|11||11/18||@New York Giants||32||10.69|
|12||11/25||San Francisco 49ers||18||6.75|
|14||12/09||New Orleans Saints||5||5.22|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||63||43||513||6||29||11.93||87|