Now that Rob Gronkowski has joined Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, incumbent Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has become an even more obvious trade candidate than he previously was. Turns, out, the Bucs already tried to deal him earlier this year.
Two months ago, Tampa Bay nearly traded Howard to the Redskins in exchange for offensive tackle Trent Williams, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. It’s unclear if the proposed swap would have involved other players or draft picks, but in either case, the deal fell through.
Williams, of course, has been on the trade block for some time, and may still be moved this week. Had Tampa Bay been able to acquire him, Williams almost surely would have taken over at left tackle, allowing the Buccaneers to move Donovan Smith to the right side and improving their offensive line in one fell swoop.
Notably, talks involving Howard and the Redskins occurred before Brady decided on Tampa Bay and before Gronkowski came out of retirement to join him. That’s perhaps not altogether surprising, as Howard was reportedly available since the 2019 trade deadline. But a Howard deal makes all the more sense now given that Gronk has made his way to the Buccaneers.
Howard, who’s posted 34 receptions in each of the past two seasons, has one year plus a 2021 option remaining on his contract. Tampa Bay — or whatever team potentially acquires Howard — has until May 5 to exercise that option, which would be fully guaranteed.
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