It appears that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stopped hoping that Rob Gronkowski will change his mind on retirement. According to multiple sources, the Bucs have dipped in the free market to boost their tight ends corps by signing veteran Kyle Rudolph.
Rudolph will reportedly join Tampa Bay on a 1-year deal. The 32-year-old player spent the last year with the New York Giants, playing 16 games in which he had 26 catches for 257 yards and a touchdown.
After quarterback Tom Brady decided to return for the 2022 season after a brief retirement, the Bucs hoped his great friend Gronk would follow. But Gronkowski reiterated his decision to stay away from football several times since then, forcing Tampa to start looking elsewhere.
Rudolph immediately becomes the first choice for the Bucs at the TE position, considering the lack of experience further down the depth chart. Codey McElroy is the only other TE on the roster that played in the NFL, and even he only has one catch as a pro. The other options are rookies Cade Otton and Ko Kieft.
Kyle Rudolph played his best football in the uniform of the Minnesota Vikings. In 10 seasons as a Viking, Rudolph 4,488 yards and 48 TDs. He also has two Pro Bowl nods.