Tagged in: jason licht

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft tight end, but GM says that won’t affect potential Rob Gronkowski return

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did select a tight end to start the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday — taking Washington’s Cade Otton with the 106th overall pick — general manager Jason Licht stated that would not affect the status of Rob Gronkowski, who remains undecided about playing in 2022.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Licht said Friday night prior to the Buccaneers’ selection.

“We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that; the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

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Speaking from his “Gronk Beach” party at the NFL draft in Las Vegas, Gronkowski told TMZ that he was still undecided on his future but that the Buccaneers are the only team he would contemplate playing for next season.

“It’s just the Bucs,” Gronkowski said. “Love that organization, man. Love the guys there. It’s family over there.”

Gronkowski is still living in Tampa, Florida, and has worked out at the Buccaneers’ facility this offseason two days per week to stay in shape.

Otton, who had 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 39 matches for the Huskies, helps offset not only the potential loss of Gronkowski but also the loss of former first-round draft pick O.J. Howard, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet retires at age 28

In a shocking move, Buccaneers Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet is retiring, he revealed on Instagram.

Marpet is just 28 years old and finished off his first Pro Bowl season. He is considered arguably one of the top — if not the top — Buccaneers offensive linemen.

A source told ESPN that Marpet made the decision due to concerns for his overall health.

“After seven formidable years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve come to the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much,” he wrote in his post.

“This organization and the people surrounding it have helped not only fulfill a dream, but also helped build me into the person I am today. I’ve made Tampa Bay my home and I look forward to serving this community in the coming years. To the coaches and teammates, family and friends, an Instagram post simply can’t express the profound impact you’ve had on me. I’m eternally grateful. Thank you Tampa Bay.”

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A second-round draft pick out of Hobart College in 2015, Marpet became the highest-drafted player (61st overall) in Division III history. He also became the first Division III player selected in the top 100 of the draft since 1990.

“It has been one of my greatest professional thrills to see his rapid ascension from a small college standout into one [of] the NFL’s best all around offensive linemen,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement.

The Bucs already face the daunting challenge of replacing future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Filling the void left by Marpet, who missed just 12 matches in seven seasons, will be another big challenge.

Marpet was due to make $10 million in 2022.

Marpet has served on the Bucs’ social justice advisory board and last summer met with Vice President Kamala Harris during the team’s visit to the White House to discuss voting rights.

In his statement, Licht lauded Marpet for providing “the vision and passion that was crucial” to the Buccaneers’ social justice advisory board’s “launch and ongoing work.”

From 2018 to 2021, Marpet registered a 93.7% pass block win rate, which ranked ninth in the league among guards, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

He became one of just six players to post a pass block win rate of 92% or higher at guard in each of the past four campaigns, joining Quenton Nelson, Zack Martin, Joel Bitonio, Brandon Scherff and Andrew Norwell.

Marpet’s most memorable play, arguably, was pulling to the outside on Leonard Fournette’s 27-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl LV, which the Bucs won 31-9 over the Kansas City Chiefs.

In addition to Brady’s and Marpet’s departures, Jensen, also a Pro Bowler, and right guard Alex Cappa, a Pro Bowl alternate, are set to become unrestricted free agents next month.

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Antonio Brown still must pass physical before officially signing 1-year deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Antonio Brown agreed to a one-year deal to stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month, but the veteran wide receiver has yet to formally sign the extension because he needs to pass a physical after undergoing a knee scope, coach Bruce Arians recently told PewterReport.com.

Brown underwent the successful knee scope on Tuesday.

“It’s just a matter of a physical,” Arians said. “We wanted AB back. He was a model citizen the whole time he’s been here. We wanted him back, and he’s never had surgery in his life, so it’s just a matter of getting the physical done. So yeah, I wanted him back the whole time.”

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told JoeBucsFan.com that he thinks Brown will sign his contract Monday. The deal is worth up to $6.25 million and has a guaranteed value of $3.1 million, including a $2 million signing bonus, which is all contingent upon Brown passing the physical.

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Brown led the Bucs in receiving targets over the final four matches of the regular season and had a 36-yard touchdown catch in the Tampa Bay’s wild-card-round triumph over the Washington Football Team.

He suffered a knee injury the following week versus the New Orleans Saints in the NFC divisional playoffs, forcing him to miss the NFC Championship Game.

But Brown returned to play in Super Bowl LV, in which he caught five passes for 22 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against Brown for his role in an altercation with a moving truck driver in January 2020.

The suit says that the plaintiff, Anton Tumanov, suffered severe bodily injuries and mental anguish in the incident.

Brown pleaded no contest to one felony burglary with battery charge and two lesser misdemeanor charges related to the incident, and served an eight-game suspension in 2020 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy for that incident and a sexual misconduct allegation by an artist who worked in his home in 2017.

Last month, Brown reached a settlement on a civil suit with his former personal trainer, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2017 and 2018.

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