The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Crabtree to a two-year, $1.6 million contract in the hopes that he will bring valuable experience and solid production to the tight end position. Everyone appears to be convinced that tight end Luke Stocker is the real deal and prepared to have a break out year in 2013. The Buccaneers would obviously be thrilled if something like that happened. However, is Crabtree capable of stealing the show in training camp and winning the starting job?
The 27-year-old has all of the tools to excel at a high level. He has hauled in 18 receptions for 302 yards and four touchdowns in his three-year career with the Green Bay Packers where he played a backup role to Jermichael Finley. Most of that production occurred last year when he caught eight receptions for 203 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games. More importantly, Crabtree has had the privilege of catching passes from the best quarterback in the league, which should serve him well over the next couple years.
Crabtree has proven to have a nose for the big play, while his postseason experience should help Tampa Bay if they are fortunate enough to make some noise in the NFC this season. The fact that he has a Super Bowl ring means that he can speak up at the right times and deliver some quality advice to the more inexperienced players.
Stocker has all the makings to be a dominant tight end. Not to mention, the competition that Crabtree will provide in camp will most likely only make him better. With that being said, Crabtree did not sign with the Buccaneers just to be a backup without taking a legitimate stab at a starting role.