Former Alabama Crimson Tide tight end, O.J. Howard was cut by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Howard had signed with the Bills just months prior in March and was ready to compete for his second team while being in the National Football League before being released. As Howard failed to make the 53-man active roster heading into the 2022 season, other teams in the league are likely to look his way and pick him up off waivers.
When Howard was drafted in 2017, the first of 14 other tight ends, the future looked promising. After five years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Howard looked elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. This is where the Bills came into play although it is likely Howard might be regretting his decision to leave the team that gave him a Super Bowl ring in 2021.
Howard’s History Playing at Alabama
Howard was the top tight end picked in the 2017 draft because he had proven himself to be capable and step up in big games when needed at Alabama. Arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2013 he would appear in 10 games catching 14 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. As a sophomore his play seemed stagnant but in his junior and senior years he turned up the production on the gridiron. In his last two seasons at Alabama he recorded 83 receptions for 1,197 yards and five touchdowns.
Howard really boosted his draft stock after being named the Offensive MVP of the 2016 national championship game Alabama won over Clemson. In the championship alone, Howard caught five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. One could argue that his performance set the Tide apart from the Tigers, hence his offensive MVP trophy.
He would stick around for his senior season where the Tide returned to the national championship but lost on a last second play to the Tigers completing their revenge season. At the end of the day Howard had accumulated 1,726 receiving yards on 114 receptions with seven touchdowns.
Howard’s Career Has Taken a Turn For The Worst
Having been drafted 19th overall in the 2017 draft, Howard was ready to make his mark on the NFL with Tampa Bay. As a rookie tight end he started in 14 games recording 26 receptions for 432 yards and six touchdowns. Through the next five years his numbers would dwindle as the Buccaneers brought on Tom Brady and a plethora of weapons that would compete for starting roles with Howard.
Although Howard got a Super Bowl ring while in Tampa Bay, it came at the cost of the potential development of his game. During this offseason Howard was ready to move on and start somewhere fresh, but colder. The Buffalo Bills would sign him in March for $3.195 million in guaranteed money that included a $1.25 million signing bonus.
Unfortunately, the Bills have decided to move on from the once prized possession and will fall back on the rest of the tight ends on their roster. This does not change the fact that the Bills will still have to pay Howard $1.945 million regardless of whether he finds a new team or not.
It is not hard to see Howard finding a spot on another team before the season begins but that time is running thin as the NFL’s regular season begins on September 8, 2022, with the Bills traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Rams.