TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback Curtis Painter #7 (L) of the Indianapolis Colts chats with teammate Dallas Clark #44 (R) before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 3, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Free agent tight end Dallas Clark has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. This comes after Adam Schefter of ESPN and Jeff Darlington of NFL.com had reported that Clark would sign within the day. There has been no word on contract details, yet, but given the fact that Clark turns 33 in a few weeks and hasn't been productive the last two years, he isn't likely to receive an expensive, long-term contract.
Veteran tight end Kellen Winslow has made it clear that the Bucs want to trade or release him, but the Bucs may find it difficult to find a trading partner. Instead, it's likely that Winslow will be released, perhaps as early as today as the Bucs will likely need to free up a roster spot to sign Clark.
The former Indianapolis Colt used to be a very good tight end, catching 100 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns as recently as 2009. But he has regressed the past two seasons, managing less than 700 yards the past two seasons while repeatedly being limited by injury. His average yards per catch dropped to 9.4 in 2010 and 10.4 in 2011, while he was hardly a redzone threat with just 5 touchdowns the past two seasons. He wasn't a productive blocker, either. As he is already 33 years old, it seems unlikely that he has much to offer the Bucs.
Winslow looked slow and limited last season, but he still looked better than Clark did. Will Clark at least bring veteran leadership then? As overblown as that term is, I don't see how it would apply in this case: Clark's leadership didn't exactly help the Colts last season, as their only wins came with him out of the lineup. There's one positive, though: at least the last time Dallas came to Tampa the game sold out.