The Facts: Brate is a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning the Bucs could potentially lose him, but it is more difficult than it would be if he was unrestricted. Brate will likely get a new deal worth between $6.5 million to $7.5 million per year, and will include most of the guaranteed money up front in the first two years.
Diehards Line:As a restricted free agent, Tampa Bay will have the chance to match any contract offered to Brate. Worth noting: Over the last two season, only two tight ends in the NFL have caught more touchdown passes than Brate: Seattle’s Jimmy Graham and Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph. As Pewter Report's Trevor Sikkema points out, "scoring touchdowns is important – like, really important" Brate will be coveted in free agency, even with that restricted tag on him, around the league because when you have guys who have a knack for scoring, you keep them around. But, the Buccaneers are in a unique situation. They have a guy they know is efficient in Brate, but also have their stud draft pick from 2017, O.J. Howard, who, in theory, will only get better and better after having as much end zone success as Brate had in 2017. Brate received more targets and thus more catches, but will Howard be able to do that on his own soon? We know Howard is the superior blocker, so will it be worth top tight end money to keep Brate if in two years he’s just a TE-2 behind an All-Pro-caliber player like Howard could become? That will be a big part of any decision on Brate. Stay tuned.