Kyle Rudolph set to bring veteran experience to Buccaneers

Luke Easterling
Bucs Wire

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be preparing for life after Rob Gronkowski, with the reported signing of veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph.

It comes on the heels of Gronkowski’s second retirement announcement, and multiple subsequent reiterations of his plans to move on from football.

RELATED: Kyle Rudolph signs one-year deal with Buccaneers 

There’s no replacing a legend like Gronk, but Rudolph was the most sensible option still left on the market for a team that doesn’t have any tight end on the roster with proven experience outside of veteran Cameron Brate.

What exactly are the Buccaneers getting in Rudolph?

"Rudolph is a great safety net for a Buccaneers team that desperately needed another veteran option at tight end," says Vikings Wire editor Jordy McElroy. "Don’t listen to all of the naysayers ready to play 'The Undertaker' theme music, while closing the book on Rudolph’s career, either. Things weren’t great for him with the New York Giants last season, but then again, that team was a complete mess with their leading receiver hauling in only 521 yards.

"And besides, there’s a clear difference between playing with Brady and catching passes from Daniel Jones. Rudolph is a serviceable veteran option capable of receiving and blocking. This is a solid pick-up for the Bucs."

Rudolph’s production may have dipped during his recent stint with the Giants, but it doesn’t look like he was to blame, and his presence in the locker room as a leader and teammate appears to be a stellar addition for Tampa Bay.

REPLACING GRONK: Evaluating Buccaneers tight end options after Rob Gronkowski's retirement

"Unfortunately for Rudolph, his time in New York is not at all representative of his overall career or who he is as a player," says Giants Wire editor Dan Benton. "Things began slow due to a foot injury that required surgery and it really got no better after that. The Giants’ offense was so non-functional that Rudolph was never afforded the opportunity to display his ability in the red zone, instead being relegated to a blocker most of the time.

"He took a career-low percentage of offensive snaps and that was reflected in his final numbers. However, off the field and in the locker-room, there was none better. He was loved and respected by his teammates, and frequently made it a point to help the local community and take part in charitable events." 

While Rudolph isn’t likely to replicate Gronkowski’s impact on the Tampa Bay offense this season, this looks like a solid addition that should give the Bucs a proven commodity at a position that desperately needed it.

His well-rounded skill set should be put to good use. For a team still in win-now mode, Rudolph’s experience should allow him to make an immediate impact.