TAMPA — The Bucs have informed veteran tight end Cameron Brate they plan to release him in the coming days, part of an ongoing effort to become salary-cap compliant by the middle of the month, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.
One of the franchise’s most improbable success stories, Brate, 31, could test the free-agent waters or, more likely, retire. His release would work out to a cap savings of slightly under $2 million.
The Bucs, $56 million over the cap of $224.8 million, must be under it by 4 p.m. March 15.
They also have informed veteran tailback Leonard Fournette of his upcoming release (roughly $3.5 million in savings) and could part with other veterans, such as left tackle Donovan Smith and kicker Ryan Succop, in the coming days.
Undrafted out of Harvard in 2014, Brate finishes his Bucs career with 273 regular-season catches for 2,857 yards. His 33 regular-season touchdown receptions are third most in franchise history — one shy of tight end Jimmie Giles — and his 221 playoff receiving yards are second most by a Tampa Bay tight end, behind Rob Gronkowski (226).
He suffered the most frightening injury of his career last season. He was carted off the field Oct. 16 in Pittsburgh after taking a hit from linebacker Myles Jack upon catching a short pass over the middle, and a neck injury sidelined Brate for three games. He had only seven catches the rest of the regular season.
If Tom Brady remains retired, Brate will remain the answer to an NFL trivia question. Brate caught the last touchdown throw of Brady’s career, an 8-yarder with 2:04 to play in the Bucs’ 31-14 playoff loss to the Cowboys.
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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