2:50pm: ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Howard is facing a recovery timeline of four to six weeks. The NFL’s regular season opener will take place exactly one month from today, so he will have a chance to be available for Houston’s Week 1 matchup. Especially with Fant in place as a fill-in, though, it would come as no surprise if the Texans were to proceed with caution with their newly-extended blocker.
1:21pm: Tytus Howard has a new Texans contract in place, but he will be absent from the team for an extended stretch. Houston’s starting right tackle underwent surgery on a broken hand today, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link).
While declining to give a firm timeline on the topic of recovery, head coach DeMeco Ryans confirmed that Howard will be out for “a while.” That is obviously an unwelcomed development for both team and player, after the sides agreed to a three-year, $56MM extension less than two weeks ago. Howard is expected to be a mainstay on the Texans’ offensive line for the foreseeable future.
The 27-year-old is on the books along with blindside protector Laremy Tunsil to form the league’s most expensive tackle tandem. As part of Houston’s numerous investments up front this offseason, though, they do have experienced insurance in place. Veteran George Fant – who inked a one-year contract recently – will fill in for Howard while he is out. Fant has 83 games and 60 starts to his name.
With Charlie Heck currently on the PUP list and Howard now sidelined, plenty of attention will be on Fant to hold down the RT role. If Howard is able to return in time for the start of the regular season, the former Seahawk and Jet will return to backup duties. If not, though, Fant will be able to add considerably to his 2023 earnings. His deal with a base value of $2MM includes another $1MM in playtime incentives, as detailed by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 (Twitter link).
Howard, meanwhile, will look to recover as soon as possible to begin his play after signing a top-five right tackle deal. Building off his success from last season would prove the team’s investment to be worthwhile, while also helping ensure his long-term future with the Texans. Wilson tweets that the Alabama State’s extension includes $1.8MM in guarantees for his 2025 base salary of $15.5MM.
With the first two years of the pact guaranteed in full, expectations will be high for Howard when he returns. Today’s news marks a setback and the first major injury news since his rookie season, though with Fant in place the team is well-positioned to handle any potential extended absence.