Why A Three Way Involving Duke and Brate Will Never Happen
As you approach a new season, fans always start wondering about various players their team might be able to pick up either through a trade or through free agency. Sometimes, the scenario actually makes sense, such as the Buccaneers pursuing Robert Nkemdiche if he were to become a free agent. More often than not however, the scenario or pickup being discussed makes absolutely no sense to any of the parties involved, and one of those just happens to be making the rounds right now.
Some people that are unhappy either with the running game of the Buccaneers or with Cameron Brate, are wondering if it would be worth trading Cameron Brate to New England given the recent retirement of their long time tight end Rob Gronkowski. It doesn’t stop there however, as they have added the Cleveland Browns into the mix with the scenario that would see the Buccaneers send Cameron Brate to New England, the Patriots send a player to the Browns, and the Browns send running back Duke Johnson to the Buccaneers. If you were able to follow along with that, congratulations, as this scenario, doesn’t make sense for any of the parties involved, either from a personnel standpoint, or a financial one.
Cameron Brate, has been extremely reliable for the Buccaneers, and calling him extremely reliable might even be an understatement. The man has a lifetime catch percentage that’s approaching almost 70% and he averages more than 10 yards per catch. He was also able to add 6 touchdowns last season which put him 3rd on the team in touchdown receptions, and only 2 touchdowns behind team leader Mike Evans. His greatest asset to his credit however, might just be that he hasn’t missed any games in the past two seasons, and has only missed three games since 2015. Not only has he put together the numbers that show just how valuable to the Buccaneers he is, but Brate is due $7 million this season, even if he were to be traded away.
The other side of the coin for the Bucs in this situation, would be the addition of yet another running back. We already know that head coach Bruce Arians has made it clear he will not overpay for a running back, and that he’s quite pleased with the backfield we’ve managed to put together, especially with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II. The addition of Duke Johnson would likely find the Buccaneers having made a trade for a running back that could wind up sitting the bench at 3rd in the depth chart if not further back depending how things develop during training camp and in the pre-season. That’s not to say that Duke Johnson doesn’t have his good points, as he did average 5 yards per carry last season, but he was unable to find the end zone as a rusher in 16 games played, and only managed to rack up just over 200 yards on the ground. To put that into comparison, RoJo managed almost ¼ of the yardage on only 23 carries and managed to run for a touchdown, and he was our 2nd string running back last season. Johnson will also carry with him a contract that is so filled with bonuses and incentives, that it could cost more for him than RoJo and Barber combined.
The missing piece that many would use to make this all come together, is what New England would be offering to the Browns in the deal, as Cleveland isn’t in need of a tight end, so they would need the Patriots involved to make the trade work for them. This trade would see Brate go to New England where he’d surely continue being a reliable play maker, and Duke Johnson go to the Buccaneers who really do not need another running back, especially one from Cleveland, added to the stable, unless they were guaranteed to perform at a level we haven’t seen since Jim Brown. We have no idea what player would wind up in Cleveland, and honestly that’s not any of our concern because there is no way the Buccaneers would allow this trade to happen, unless of course, there were plans in place to completely tank the entire franchise and move it to London.