Tight end OJ Howard entered the NFL with what seemed to be unlimited potential. However, three years into his pro career he’s yet to tap into that potential. Now, just when you think he could possibly take the next step with quarterback Tom Brady at the helm, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear ready to move on from their former first-round draft pick.
Bucs Reportedly Looking to Trade OJ 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.
It should come as little surprise that Tampa Bay is ready to wipe their hands clean of Howard. Despite his immense talent, he struggled mightily in his first year under head coach Bruce Arians. Howard finished 2019 with a meager 34-receptions while finding the endzone just once.
“Arians said late last season when asked about Howard’s play. “He’s a talented, talented guy, but it’s not showing up on Sundays.”,”
Could a Howard for Gronkowski Trade Be in the Works?
For all that has gone wrong during Howard’s tenure in Tampa Bay, it’s safe to say there will be no limitation of suitors for the former Alabama standout on the trade block. The 6-foot-6-inch, nearly 250-pound tight end possesses 4.51 40-yard dash speed and is an above-average blocker. Oh, and he’s just 25-years of age.
One of the teams expected to have interest in Howard is the New England Patriots, who have been hurting for a tight end ever since Rob Gronkowski abruptly retired following the 2018 season.
Speaking of Gronkowski, from the moment Tom Brady announced he’d be ditching Foxborough and taking his talents to the Sunshine State this offseason, rumors of the one-time dynamic duo reuniting in Tampa Bay have swirled.
The one hitch? The Patriots still own Gronkowski’s rights. Could a swap of tight ends be on the horizon? It’s certainly possible, although unlikely at the moment as Gronk has seemingly moved on football. The former All-Pro tight end most recently hosted WrestleMania 36 and is also the current WWE 24/7 Champion.
With that said, Brady’s affection for Gronkowski is well known and vice versa. The tight end has gone on record in the past stating he would never play with a quarterback other than Brady. He backed up that statement a few years back by threatening to retire when the Pats were reportedly prepared to trade him to the Detroit Lions.
The two former Patriot superstars dominated during their days in New England together, collecting three Lombardi trophies on the way. The Patriots could use a young talented playmaker like OJ Howard, while Gronkowski could be the final piece to transform the Buccaneers into true Super Bowl contenders.
A swap of tight ends seems to be a win-win for both organizations. However, it’s now up to Gronkowski if he wants to return to the league, an uncertainty at the moment. Although, if there’s one man that can drag Gronkowski out of retirement, it’s likely Tom Brady.