The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a couple of big splashes early in the NFL off-season. They proved that they are not done yet, trading 8-year veteran tight end Kellen Winslow to the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional seventh round 2013 draft pick. Don’t jump for joy just yet though.
Tampa Bay quickly moved to acquire former Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark off of the free agency wire. While Clark has established a reputation around the league for being able to catch ANY ball with one hand, he may not be as dangerous as he used to be in the past.
The Buccaneers adding Dallas Clark is similar to the Atlanta Falcons move in 2009, trading for tight end Tony Gonzalez. While both teams were trying to bolster their offenses, these moves have two notable differences.
While both of these tight ends were All-pro players at their former teams, Clark’s production actually dipped in his final two years. Tony Gonzalez put up two +1,000 yard receiving in his final two years, Dallas Clark hovered around 350 yards per season.
While those years may be aberrations (wrist injury in 2010 and no Peyton Manning in 2011) consider this: Dallas Clark has only played one full season in the NFL. Turning 33 with an injury history in the NFL does not usually equal success especially at a position like tight end.
Clark was not even expected to be joining a team this year. On March 23rd, NFL Network reporter Albert Breer tweeted:
… If I had to guess, even w/Saturday, I think the Packers still draft a C high. And a scout told me earlier today Clark may be finished.