Dallas Clark will be a player that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to make a decision on this off-season, as the veteran tight end (33) will be an unrestricted free agent on March 12th. Last year, the Bucs signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.7 million, and you’d have to figure Clark will want a larger deal heading into 2013.
The big question of course – is Clark worth keeping on the roster at this point?
Once an elite tight end, injuries and age have slowed Clark down to an average NFL tight end. He did play in all 16 games last season for the first time since 2009, so that has to be encouraging for the Bucs. He also had a decent year statistically, racking up 435 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Certainly not eye-popping numbers, but they were his best numbers in three years, regardless.
Clark also brings intangibles to the table. His veteran leadership and knowledge are no doubt assets to the young team. You can only imagine the football knowledge a player gets by playing in the same system with Peyton Manning for nine seasons.
But at what point do the Bucs say that he’s no longer worth the risk? I think Clark has a couple more solid seasons left in him, and if he’s used in a similar fashion like 2012, he’ll no doubt be productive.
Clark’s days of 1,000-yard seasons are well behind him, but he is still a valuable asset for this young Tampa Bay team. It seems that Clark would still the best tight end on the roster, although Luke Stocker has some potential. We’ll see what kind of, if any, offer the Bucs make to him in the next couple of weeks. At the same time, we’ll see if Clark wants to stay with the team that gave him a second chance.