The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are making moves this offseason. The franchise pulled off arguably their best free-agent signing ever, bringing Tom Brady to Central Florida.
Tampa Bay isn’t done. The franchise is reportedly looking to shop former first-round draft pick O.J. Howard.
“I think Howard’s got a great name, but I think there’s an instinctive issue going on,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s going to be available.” Lombardi also added that he wouldn’t be surprised if Howard were to be dealt within the next week, as our own Vinna Somma recently passed along.
Howard underachieved in 2019, catching only 34 balls. He clashed with coach Bruce Arians and it would be an upset if he finds himself on the roster at the start of next season.
Which Teams Should Trade For Howard?
The Patriots make sense as a suitor. After Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, life at the TE position in New England was rather bland. Whoever ends up playing the position for the Pats could use a dynamic weapon like Howard.
The Redskins might be the only team that makes more sense. Washington watched Vernon Davis retire and they allowed Jordan Reed to walk in free agency (Reed is still a free agent as of this writing).
New coach Ron Rivera should be able to get the most out of Howard, like he did with Greg Olsen in Carolina, despite the shaky QB play that the Redskins will surely encounter in 2020.
Tampa Bay needs a tackle and Washington has a premier, yet disgruntled player at the position in Trent Williams. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bucs are willing to take Williams in exchange for Howard and which side would want additional compensation. My guess is that the Skins would take Howard and a fourth-rounder for Williams.
Will Gronk Join Brady in Tampa?
There are rumors that the Bucs will pursue a reunion between Gronk and Brady. Buccaneers GM Jason Licht was asked about such a scenario and told reporters that Gronk was doing well with his WWE gig and that the had “no idea’ if the tight end wanted to play football.
Brady recently wrote about his desire to maximize the time he has remaining in the NFL. “In the time left, the question is, How can I keep maximizing what I do, put everything I can into it, make it the best I possibly can? At this point in my career, the only person I have to prove anything to is myself,” said Brady, who will turn 43 in August.
Adding another weapon in Gronk sounds like a way for Brady to get the most out of his ability, though Tampa Bay is pretty stacked as far as pass-catchers go, so the GOAT will be alright if the tight end remains retired.
The Patriots still own Gronkowski’s rights and Licht has previously acknowledged as much. Tampa Bay would need to work out a deal with New England to bring the tight end to town.
What would that look like? It’s unclear but it’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick just allowing Gronkowski to waltz down to Tampa Bay with Brady as the coach/GM toils away up in New England. Expect the Patriots to get an asset in return should Gronk come back and want to play elsewhere.
Could that asset be Howard? Perhaps.
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