Kyle Rudolph

Buccaneers Notes: Rudolph, Jones, Linebackers

The Buccaneers signed Kyle Rudolph about a month after Rob Gronkowski hung up his cleats, but Rudolph’s path to Tampa Bay started before his peer’s retirement. According to Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times, Tom Brady recruited Rudolph to the Buccaneers before Gronk announced his retirement.

Speaking to reporters today, Rudolph acknowledged that Brady’s presence and the Buccaneers’ winning culture influenced his decision to join Tampa Bay. While he’ll likely replace Gronk atop the Buccaneers’ TE depth chart, the veteran made it clear that he’s got a long way to go to replace the future Hall of Famer on the stat sheet.

“Those shoes are way too big to fill, and I’ve got pretty big feet,” Rudolph said. “I feel like there’s so much ground to make up, and I don’t have 10 years of experience with Tom to make it up. We play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 in September, and my goal is to go out there that week and be on the same page with Tom like we have been playing together for 10 years.”

Head coach Todd Bowles shared a similar sentiment. While he noted that there’s no replacing Gronkowski’s spot on the field, he anticipates Rudolph playing an important role on this squad.

“He brings intelligence, he brings toughness, he brings savvy, and he’s played the game for a while,” Bowles said. “You’re not going to replace Gronk. We’ve got to do that in a variety of ways, whether it’s running back, the other tight ends, the receivers. … But he brings us a veteran presence, understanding the ball game and he learns fast, so he’ll help us on Sundays.”

More notes out of Tampa Bay…

  • Speaking of Rudolph, the tight end’s one-year contract contains a base pay worth $2MM, according to Mike Florio of Rudolph can make another $1.5MM in incentives, bumping the maximum value to $3.5MM. The deal includes $1.5MM in guaranteed money, and considering the commitment, Florio thinks it’s pretty clear that Rudolph will ultimately make the 53-man roster. Greg Auman of The Athletic shares details (on Twitter) of Rudolph’s incentives, which includes $375k in 46-man roster bonuses, $375k for 30 receptions, an additional $250k for 40 receptions, an additional $250k for 50 receptions, and $250k for a Pro Bowl selection.
  • Julio Jones‘ contract with the Buccaneers also contains a number of incentives. According to Auman (on Twitter), the wideout has 10 bonuses worth $200K: bonuses for each of 50/60/70/80 receptions, bonuses for each of 600/700/800/900 receiving yards, a bonus for an NFC title, and a bonus for a Super Bowl victory. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Buccaneers included four void years on the receiver’s contract, a tactic the front office has used frequently in recent years. As a result of this move, Jones has a cap number that’s barely above $2MM.
  • Auman speculates that the Buccaneers could add an inside linebacker and an outside linebacker before the start of the season. At ILB, the team is hoping that Devin White and Lavonte David will stand out at the position, but both players have their fair share of question marks and the Buccaneers lack depth behind the duo. At OLB, the team is still seeking a replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul. 2021 first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka could ultimately be the answer opposite Shaq Barrett, but similar to the other linebacker position, Tampa Bay lacks depth behind their two starters.

NFL Workouts: 7/25/22

As players are moved to the PUP and NFI lists and rosters are starting to take shape for the start of training camps, many players are searching for opportunities to make a team.

Here’s the list of players who have received workouts or taken visits today and this past weekend:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

New England

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans


Buccaneers To Sign TE Kyle Rudolph

Tom Brady has a new tight end. The Buccaneers have signed Kyle Rudolph, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the veteran tight end.

[RELATED: Vikings, Buccaneers Interested In TE Kyle Rudolph]

We heard recently that the market for Rudolph was starting to heat up. The Buccaneers were listed among the known suitors, as were the Vikings, Rudolph’s former team. Rudolph was also connected to the Broncos and his former GM George Paton earlier in the offseason. Ultimately, it was the Buccaneers who managed to land the free agent, and they now have a tight end who can somewhat replace the production of Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement earlier this offseason.

It’s been a bit since Rudolph has come close to even matching Gronk’s 2021 numbers, but at the very least, he’ll provide Brady with another reliable option at the position. Rudolph will likely compete with Cameron Brate for offensive reps, with rookies Cade Otton and Ko Kieft now competing for the third TE spot on Tampa Bay’s roster.

The Giants inked Rudolph to a two-year, $12MM deal in March of 2021, but following a season where the tight end finished with only 26 catches for 357 yards and one touchdown, he received his walking papers. Prior to his brief stint in New York, Rudolph spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Minnesota, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods. He ranks sixth in Vikings history in receptions (453) and receiving touchdowns (48), and he’s 10th in receiving yards (4,488). Rudolph saw reduced targets during his final seasons with the organization, but he was still relatively consistent in the yards-per-catch category (including a career-high 11.9-yards per reception in 2020).

Vikings, Buccaneers Interested In TE Kyle Rudolph

It sounds like Kyle Rudolph‘s market is starting to heat up. The veteran tight end has drawn interest from “multiple teams,” Jeremy Fowler of tweets. His known suitors include the Buccaneers and the Vikings. Fowler expects Rudolph to land somewhere before the start of training camp.

The Giants inked Rudolph to a two-year, $12MM deal in March of 2021, but following a season where the tight end finished with only 26 catches for 357 yards and one touchdown, the earned his walking papers. Since becoming a free agent, Rudolph received some interest from George Paton and the Broncos, but a deal never materialized.

Minnesota would obviously be a homecoming for Rudolph. The 2011 second-round pick spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Minnesota, where he hauled in 48 touchdowns in 140 games. Rudolph earned Pro Bowl nods in both 2012 and 2017, although his best offensive season came in 2016 when he finished with 83 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Irv Smith Jr. sits atop the depth chart in Minnesota, but Rudolph could provide some veteran experience over the likes of Ben Ellefson, Johnny Mundt, Zach Davidson, and rookie Nick Muse.

Rob Gronkowski doesn’t sound like he’ll be returning to Tampa Bay, and you can bet Tom Brady and the Buccaneers would appreciate another veteran to pair with Cameron Brate at tight end. Otherwise, the Buccaneers are currently hoping rookies Cade Otton and/or Ko Kieft will provide depth at the position.

TE Kyle Rudolph Met With Broncos

After getting cut by the Giants in early March, Kyle Rudolph has finally appeared in the workout circuit. According to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer (on Twitter), the veteran tight end met with the Broncos recently.

[RELATED: Giants To Release Kyle Rudolph]

The Giants inked Rudolph to a two-year, $12MM deal in March of 2021, but following a season where the tight end finished with only 26 catches for 357 yards and one touchdown, the team released him to save about $2.5MM. Following his release, Rudolph indicated that he wouldn’t be hanging up his cleats, with the 32-year-old stating that he was “looking forward to what’s next.”

The 2011 second-round pick spent the first 10 seasons of his career in Minnesota, where he hauled in 48 touchdowns in 140 games. Rudolph earned Pro Bowl nods in both 2012 and 2017, although his best offensive season came in 2016 when he finished with 83 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Current Broncos GM George Paton was the Vikings’ director of player personnel when the tight end was drafted.

The Broncos included tight end Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson trade, leaving the organization with Albert Okwuegbunam as their top receiving tight end. The Broncos also added tight end Eric Tomlinson, although the veteran is better known for his blocking ability.


Giants To Release Kyle Rudolph

The Giants are parting ways with Kyle Rudolph. After just one year in New York, the G-Men are releasing the tight end, according to Rudolph himself.

Fans, thanks for taking me and my family in this past year!,” Rudolph tweeted. “Certainly not the year any of us expected, but a year we will never forget. We’re appreciative of the Mara and Tisch families for giving us the opportunity to be [Giants]….Thanks to everyone in the building who took in and helped this old guy who needed to relearn everything about a new organization. And, finally my teammates. In my eleven years in this league, I’m not sure I’ve been around a closer group of guys!”

The veteran also said that he’s “looking forward to what’s next,” a possible indication that he’ll continue his career elsewhere. Indeed, the 32-year-old veteran is not looking to retire just yet, Adam Schefter of tweets. The longtime Vikings starter has played 156 games over 11 seasons and has started 145 of those — including 13 with the Giants.

The Giants inked Rudolph to a two-year, $12MM deal in March of 2021. By releasing him, they’ll save $5MM in cap space while eating $2.41MM in dead money. Rudolph had 26 catches for 357 yards and one touchdown in his lone Giants season. That was roughly in line with his 2020 Vikings numbers, though he played in just 12 games that year versus 16 this past season.

While he’s never been a star, Rudolph has been a reliable option throughout much of his career. He also secured Pro Bowl selections twice, in 2012 and 2017. Despite the down years, it won’t be hard for Rudolph to find work elsewhere. The Giants, meanwhile, will evaluate their own TE group as Evan Engram inches towards free agency.

Giants Notes: Cap, Martinez, Shepard, Staff

The Giants doled out a few big-ticket contracts in free agency during Dave Gettleman‘s final years as GM, handing out deals to James BradberryBlake Martinez, Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. Those contracts are among those that have pushed the Giants over the projected 2022 salary cap. The Giants are more than $11MM over the cap, and GM Joe Schoen told NBC Sports’ Peter King last month he wants to clear about $40MM in cap space before the start of the new league year.

It’s a concern, and it’s real. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made,” Schoen said recently, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

Some cap-casualty candidates include Martinez, Sterling Shepard and Kyle Rudolph. Despite Martinez delivering his usual high-end tackle production in 2020, the veteran linebacker suffered an ACL tear in September. Martinez might need to take a pay cut to stay, Vacchiano offers, though the 28-year-old linebacker is only attached to an $8.4MM salary. Cutting Martinez would save the Giants more than $8MM, while an expected Rudolph ouster will add $5MM to that total. As a post-June 1 cut, Shepard’s release saves nearly $9MM. Shepard is the Giants’ longest-tenured player, arriving as a second-round 2016 pick, but has battled injuries for much of his career. Bradberry serves as Big Blue’s No. 1 cornerback, though Vacchiano adds he should not be considered a lock to be part of next year’s team. A post-June 1 designation makes a Bradberry release worth $13MM. Of course, the Giants would run into a major cornerback need in the event they cut Bradberry. The ex-Panther’s three-year, $45MM deal expires after next season.

Here is the latest from the rebuilding team:

  • Schoen will not retain one of Gettlemen’s top front office lieutenants. Co-director of player personnel Mark Koncz is not coming back, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy (on Twitter). Koncz followed Gettleman to New York in 2017, doing so after spending nearly 25 years with the Panthers. Koncz worked with Carolina before the franchise’s 1995 debut and stayed on through a few GMs, finishing up his tenure as the Panthers’ director of pro scouting from 2000-2017.
  • More new staffers are bound for New York. The expected hire of ex-Ravens outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins indeed took place, with the Giants also hiring ex-Bills assistant John Egorugwu to coach their inside ‘backers. Egorugwu, 35, was on Sean McDermott‘s staff for four years before spending the 2021 season at Vanderbilt. The first name mentioned as a staff candidate once Don Martindale took over as Giants DC, Wilkins, 34, worked with the Ravens for 10 years and spent the past two as their outside linebackers coach.
  • The Giants are also adding to Brian Daboll‘s staff from the college ranks, hiring DeAndre Smith as their new running backs coach. Smith comes from Texas Tech and has never coached in the NFL before, spending more than 20 seasons at the college level. This move comes after the Giants offered the job to ex-Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (on Twitter). Notre Dame just hired McCullough, who spent the 2021 season at Indiana after coaching the Chiefs’ running backs for the previous three years, for new HC Marcus Freeman’s staff.

Giants’ Kyle Rudolph, Riley Dixon Rework Deals

The Giants have a little extra spending money, just in time for Christmas. On Tuesday, the G-Men reworked the contacts of tight end Kyle Rudolph and punter Riley Dixon to create ~$350K in cap room (Twitter link via Field Yates of

[RELATED: Giants’ Jones Done For Year]

The Giants won’t be making any marquee signings over the next few weeks — after all, they’re 4-10 on the year after taking their third straight loss on Sunday — but they will need to make a few minor moves like signing players to the practice squad and doling out roster bonuses.

Injuries have piled up for the Giants in recent weeks. Just yesterday, they opted to shut down quarterback Daniel Jones for the rest of the year, allowing him to fully heal from his neck injury. They also lost Sterling Shepard for the year with an Achilles tear — just the latest in an unfortunate string of setbacks for the wide receiver.

Rudolph, 32, has 22 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown so far this year. He remains under contract for 2022, thanks to his two-year, $12MM deal, but it’s not a given that he’ll return. The Giants could theoretically cut the veteran to save $5MM against just $2.25MM in dead money.

Dixon, 29 in August, also has one year to go on his contract with a similar split. His release would save $3.25MM versus $125K in dead money. The Giants’ next GM may prefer to go cheaper, rather than roster the league’s fourth-highest paid punter.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

Giants Activate Kyle Rudolph From PUP List

Kyle Rudolph passed his physical Wednesday and will move toward a Week 1 return. The veteran tight end is now off the Giants’ active/PUP list.

The offseason acquisition spent nearly a month on the Giants’ PUP list due to the foot surgery he underwent in March. That operation briefly clouded Rudolph’s agreement to join the Giants, but the sides ended up following through with the initial deal.

It remains uncertain if Rudolph will be ready to play for his new team when its season begins Sept. 12. The 11th-year veteran, however, is not noticeably behind schedule. He said earlier this summer missing training camp was in play but has continued to keep Week 1 as the goal.

Rudolph, 31, suffered a foot injury last season — one that caused him to miss his first game action since 2014 — and Giants doctors discovered a Lisfranc issue during his physical in March. Lisfranc injuries can be difficult to shake, so it will be interesting to see if Rudolph can avoid any additional setbacks.

He committed to the Giants on a two-year, $12MM deal, joining the likes of Kenny Golladay, John Ross and first-round pick Kadarius Toney as new weapons for Daniel Jones. Rudolph will be expected to work in tandem with Evan Engram, who is going into a contract year.