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Tight End Tom Crabtree Leaves Packers for the Buccaneers

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Tight End Tom Crabtree Leaves Packers for the Buccaneers

Former Packers tight end Tom Crabtree. Photo by Corey Behnke of Cheesehead TV.

Tom Crabtree, tight end and cult hero in Green Bay, has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to Jason Wilde of

After completing his third year of NFL service, Crabtree became a restricted free agent this offseason. The Packers decided not to place a low tender on Crabtree for a one-year value of $1.3 million.

In essence, Crabtree became an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team he chose, however, he will not count in the compensatory draft pick formula.

Losing Crabtree comes on the heels of wide receiver Greg Jennings signing with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, meaning quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently minus two fewer targets than he was in 2012.

That is good news for the future of tight end Jermichael Finley in Green Bay, at least for 2013. With one year left on his contract, it's a good bet that the Packers will not cut or trade away a third receiving weapon.

In losing Crabtree, Green Bay also lost one of their most engaging personalities and best embassadors, a player known for his interaction on Twitter, weekly talk show appearances on Clubhouse Live and his humorous character.

The Packers are saying goodbye to a player who scored three very memorable touchdowns in 2012, the first of which was nominated for the league's Play of the Year Award given during the annual NFL Honors awards show.

In Week 2 against the Chicago Bears while facing fourth-and-26 and lining up for a field goal, the Packers ran a fake, and Crabtree took a shovel pass from holder Tim Masthay and raced 27 yards for a touchdown.

Crabtree also had a 72-yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9, the longest reception for a touchdown by a Packers tight end since 1979, and another 48-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 6.

His average scoring distance of 49.0 yards ranked second in the NFL only to New Orleans receiver Joseph Morgan (54.0).

Despite his memorable scoring plays in 2012, Crabtree's biggest contributions during his three years in Green Bay were his blocking and special teams play. After Andrew Quarless went down with an injury late in the 2011 season, Crabtree became Green Bay's best blocking tight end.

Crabtree's first year in Green Bay was spent as a member of the 2010 Super Bowl team. He scored his first NFL touchdown in a wildcard round victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Super Bowl XLV, Crabtree made a key one-yard reception on the Packers' final drive of the game that milked 40 seconds off the clock and helped to keep the ball away from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

During the 2011 season, Crabtree was a weekly guest on Cheesehead TV's Railbird Central morning talk show and podcast.

According to Wilde via Twitter, the Packers offered Crabtree a one-year contract worth the NFL's veteran minimum and a small signing bonus. The Buccaneers' two-year deal came as more attractive and with more security.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The poster formerly known as Bearmeat's picture

Can't keep em all. Thanks for the memories Tom. And thanks for not going to the purple hornies.

bryce's picture

Agree. Cool dude. Glad he got paid.

PackerPete's picture

Thank you Tom, and good luck! Unfortunately, the Packers lost their only blocking TE. So we definitely have to have one in the draft.

Jake's picture

Quarless is a better blocker.

PackerPete's picture

Quarles may not play next year. His injury prevented him form playing this past season.

Stroh's picture

Finley was a better blocker last year than Crabtree... Per PFF!

kathy's picture

The Puma!
It's sad news for us fans but fabulous for the Crabtree's. Can't think of one player who really engaged more personally with the fans in all aspects of the media. Sure, some grandstand with "first 100 to meet me...." stuff, but Crab was just more personal and personable. (and the best damn blocking TE !)
Greg Bedard, ex-Packer beat writer now with the Boston Globe, said on twitter last night, "Don't come more real than @TCrabtree83" . I would wholeheartedly agree based on the weekly podcasts of Clubhouse, his twitter feed and involvement all around. But what more can one say?
He's the kind of guy and player that never loses fans, only adds to them. I'm sure he and his family be as great ambassadors (with an "a", wink wink) for the Bucs as they have been for the Packers.
All the best, Tom!

kathy's picture

and frankly, I'm pretty disgusted with how the organization dealt with this. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth that this franchise should be ashamed of.

packsmack25's picture

Disgusted by what? It's not like they kept him from going elsewhere.

PresidentRaygun's picture

It's a business first and foremost, just because he's a cool guy means nothing. He's only a serviceable TE.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

You're delusional lady.

Shawn's picture

Tom was one of my favorite Packers. Thought he was a good, under utilized talent. Hope the Bucks give him a chance to shine. Crab+Tree

Kgnfl1's picture

Best wishes to Crabtree! He was a slightly below average tight end all around. He won't be missed one bit. Just another "guy" in terms of what he can do for a team. Sorry to speak the truth but no real loss here.

Mojo's picture

So who's the number two tight end? We don't know if Quarless has recovered. And he never played a lot prior to his injury -more of a situational guy. Same for Williams and Taylor. A lot of unknowns with this team now.

Stroh's picture

What the hell do you think Crabtree was? He was the epitome of a situational player. Supposedly a good blocker, that last wasn't a good blocker. Why do you think they let him walk? Good guy, wish him well... Can find a player just like him anywhere in undrafted FA.

PackerPete's picture

yes, but he was also the no. 2 TE. Williams will never be a NFL TE, Taylor never be more than a special teamer. Quarles is constantly injured, and Finley a head case with bigger mouth than production. I would've kept Crabtree and rather gotten rid of Willams and Quarles.

Mojo's picture

Crabtree was clearly the number two TE last year based on snaps. The question I posed was not so much to his worth, but to who will replace him. It still stands - we have a bunch of unknowns at this time. Maybe they like Bostick. Maybe Quarless recovers. Maybe Tayor improves or Williams gets taller. A lot of maybes and a lot of unknowns.

And Stroh try to tone-down the douche factor a bit.

Stroh's picture

So he played more snsps.and was #2 TE LAST year. Quarless will be back Williams blocked better and Finley is #1 TE. Crabtree is easily replaced in undrafted FA. Wish him well and say good bye. No big loss...

Lou's picture

Best wishes to a kid who gave his all for the Green & Gold. It's time for both Finley and D.J. Williams to "show or go", patience lasts only so long in the NFL.

packsmack25's picture

Good for him. Good guy that has worked as hard as anyone. Would be cool if he gets to start down there.

Point Packer turned Jeff Query's picture

Given this, the GJ departure and Hawk restructured - I have to think that TT is gearing up for a big move. Or maybe I think this every single year..

Brian Carriveau's picture

Two of them actually: making Clay Matthews among the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL and Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid overall player.

Stroh's picture

And maybr Raji too. Tho he might have to wait a year to get extended.

Point Packer turned Jeff Query's picture

Yes, this team will work to get better in the draft. And at the end of the day, getting Mathews and Rodgers locked in long-term will keep this team in the SB conversation every single year for the foreseeable future.

black cat's picture

Sad to hear, but understand why he left. We'll see you on the field, Tom, but have to hope your team loses!!

Jamie's picture

Tom was solid, overrated by many, and beautiful...on the inside.

KurtMc's picture

Props to TC83. The kid gave all he had, left for another offer, maybe more cash. NFL business today.

Not sure if we saw enough of Quarless to make a judgement? What is his status?

Not hating TT , but again disappointment in not getting some D line help. Can the Official Packer beat writers look at this for an article if the D line will be affected by inactivity of FA?

wgbeethree's picture

Anybody else remember me spending the first hour of one of the podcast waiting for the special guest to call in by vehemently arguing in the chat that Crabtree was completely useless at worst/JAG at best and should be cut only to have Crabtree be the special guest? Good times.

packeraaron's picture

Dude, I TOTALLY remember that. That was hilarious.

Point Packer turned Jeff Query's picture

I understand that at the end of the day, football is a business. But this really sucks. Crabtree was great to have round Green Bay.

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