WEDNESDAY, 7:22pm: The Raiders have officially announced their deal with Howard.
TUESDAY, 11:26pm: Howard’s deal will be a five-year pact worth $30MM, with $15MM guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
11:23pm: The Raiders have an agreement in place with free agent tackle Austin Howard, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Jets made an effort to re-sign their right tackle before he hit the open market today, but fell short, and Howard will now head west for the 2014 season.
Howard, 26, started all 16 games at right tackle for New York for a second consecutive season in 2013, allowing just two quarterback sacks and ranking as one of the best tackles in the league when it came to avoiding penalties, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). While right tackles typically don’t receive the same kind of paydays as their counterparts on the left side of the line, the Raiders entered the day with the most cap space in the league and already spent big money on Rodger Saffold, who may play guard for the team. In other words, I’d expect Howard will make out pretty well on his new deal.
Last month, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com suggested that Howard could be in line for a deal similar to the one signed by Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer a year ago. Vollmer agreed to a four-year, $17MM contract that could increase to an overall value of up to $27MM due to various incentives. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Howard surpassed those dollar amounts.
The Saints, Cardinals, and one other team had interest in Howard before he reached a deal with the Raiders, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.