Tight End A Top Priority For Bucs In Free Agency

March 12 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought in at least four high profile tight ends for visits since the start of free agency on March 1. The team is looking to replace last year's starter, Dave Moore, who recently signed with Buffalo.

Even though it hasn't widely been reported, our Buccaneer Magazine insiders tell us that there have been an unusually high amount of free agent prospects rolling through One Buccaneer Place during the first two weeks of free agency. The names will eventually leak out as the spring rolls on, but there have been quite a few tight ends who have visited Tampa Bay since March 1, including Marco Battaglia (Cincinnati and Washington), Christian Fauria (Seattle) and most recently, Ken Dilger (Indianapolis). Former Detroit tight end David Sloan visited the Bucs on Tuesday.

The tight end typically plays a large role in Gruden's offense and the team lacks experience at the position with Todd Yoder, Mike Roberg and Damien Vaughn the only signed tight ends at this time with the release of starter Dave Moore due to salary cap concerns on March 1.

The one player drawing raves from the insiders we spoke with was Fauria, who might have the best combination of blocking ability and receiving ability of the group. He may emerge as the top prospect after the Bucs make the rounds with all of the top tight ends in free agency.

One player who has not visited One Buc Place is former Baltimore tight end Shannon Sharpe. While some media outlets are speculating that he may wind up in Tampa, there may not really be a strong interest in Sharpe's services due to age, salary cap and locker room concerns. That's not to say that Sharpe won't become a Buccaneer, but it may be unlikely. In fact, the Bucs appear likely to be more interested in Byron Chamberlain (Minnesota), who has yet to make a visit than Sharpe.

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