Ex-Bills TE Hit With Surprise Release for Second Straight Year

O.J. Howard

Getty O.J. Howard makes a catch during Buffalo Bills minicamp.

O.J. Howard’s release was one of the biggest surprises of the Buffalo Bills‘ preseason last year, with the team parting ways with the veteran tight end at final roster cutdowns.

This year, Howard didn’t even make it that far.

The Las Vegas Raiders released Howard on August 1, just days after the start of training camp. The move was first reported by Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who added on Twitter that Howard fell too far down the depth chart to make an impact in Las Vegas.

“Perspective on Raiders’ decision to release O.J. Howard: With Michael Mayer, Jesper Horsted and Austin Hooper all having strong camps, Howard’s fate was inevitable,” he wrote. “The decision to cut him now gives him a chance to hook on elsewhere and have a fair chance to make another team.”

O.J. Howard Looking for New Team

Howard joined the Bills in the 2022 offseason, one of the most high-profile additions to the offense. Though his signing brought hopes that the Bills could run two-tight-end sets with Howard and Dawson Knox, the veteran ultimately lost out as the Bills went with second-year tight end Quintin Morris as their No. 2.

Howard signed with the Houston Texans and had a strong start to the season with two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, but ended with just 10 catches for 145 yards on the season.

After making 105 catches for 1,602 yards with 14 touchdowns through the first four seasons of his career, Howard saw a sharp dropoff and had no more than 146 yards in any of his most recent three seasons.

As Bonsignore reported, Howard will now have the chance to join another team in training camp.

Bills Make Big Move for Another Tight End

After Howard’s signing fizzled, the Bills made another attempt this offseason to bring on a tight-end complement to Knox. They traded up in the first round to land Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid, who has earned strong reviews through the team’s first week of training camp.

Kincaid earned praise from Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who said Kincaid has shown great maturity in his game.

“His instincts are very high, especially for a rookie tight end,” Allen said on One Bills Live, via SI.com. “Understanding in zone coverage which way to turn, whether it’s inside or outside. His catch radius is pretty big. He’s got some grippers on him, and he can move those around and snag the ball out of the air.”

Allen added that Knox and Kincaid have formed a strong duo, and could create some difficult matchups for opposing defenses.

“They compliment each other in such a good way,” Allen said. “Dawson, being able to utilize what he’s good at. His speed, his aggressiveness [and] his size. And then Dalton, some of the underneath stuff. He can be that friendly outlet for a quarterback.”

Kincaid is expected to play out of the slot, which was a weak point at times for the Bills last season as they struggled to find a consistent slot receiver. The Bills ultimately coaxed Cole Beasley out of retirement to play in the slot for the final stretch of the season.

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