TE Ben Troupe caught 88 passes in his first two seasons in the league
After upgrading the blocking with the signing of tight end John Gilmore on March 1, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have bolstered the pass-catching aspect of the position as well with the acquisition of unrestricted free agent tight end Ben Troupe on Monday.
Per team policy, terms of Troupe's new deal were not disclosed.
While Gilmore is known more for his outstanding blocking skills, Troupe is a gifted athlete whose 6-4, 270-pound frame can cause mismatches for opposing defenses. Therefore, Troupe may help fill the pass-catching void at the tight end position if free agent Jerramy Stevens leaves the Bucs to sign with another team.
The Bucs early work on the free agent market may have transformed the tight end position into a significant strength. Last year's starter, third-year man Alex Smith is a gifted two-way player, excelling with both his blocking and his downfield pass-catching. Troupe and Gilmore allow the Bucs to go three deep at the position, which is important given the team's frequent use of two and three-tight end sets in recent seasons.
Troupe joins the Bucs after spending his first four seasons in the league as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Drafted out of Florida in the second round (40th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft, Troupe played in 55 games as a Titan (29 starts), amassing 106 receptions for 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns.
Troupe quickly emerged as a productive pass-catcher in his rookie season, posting 329 yards and one touchdown on 33 receptions in 14 games. He followed that up with his best season as a pro in 2005, setting career highs in receptions (55), receiving yards (530) and touchdowns (four).
Unfortunately, Troupe's 2006 campaign was cut short after 10 games by a foot injury, though he still caught 13 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns before being placed on injured reserve. A bit of a down year awaited Troupe in 2007, as he posted only five receptions for 47 yards and no touchdown, but a fresh start in Tampa Bay may key a return to the usual productivity Troupe has displayed in years past.
In his four-year career at Florida, Troupe played in 39 games (20 starts) and caught 64 passes for 958 yards and seven touchdowns. As a senior, he was named a first-team All-American by The NFL Draft Report, The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, and was a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end. Troupe was born in Swainsboro, Georgia.