Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard was reportedly available prior to the 2019 trade deadline, and he could be shopped again. As former NFL executive Michael Lombardi indicated on a recent episode of his GM Shuffle podcast, Tampa Bay could trade Howard either before or during next week’s draft.
Although Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has never heavily featured a tight end in his offense, Howard’s 2019 reception and yardage totals were largely in line with his career norms, but he scored only a single touchdown. Arians spoke repeatedly about getting Howard more involved in Tampa Bay’s offense, but the former first-round pick still has yet to truly break out.
Last year, the Buccaneers were reportedly only willing to deal Howard for a “substantial return.” Per Lombardi, the club was looking for a second-round pick. The Patriots, for one, inquired on Howard at the 2019 trade deadline, and although talks didn’t go anywhere, it’s possible New England could reach out again.
Howard, 25, has one year remaining on his rookie contract, although the Bucs (or any team that acquires Howard) can exercise a fifth-year option for the 2021 campaign. Under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, that fifth-year option would be fully guaranteed.
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