Tom Brady just arrived, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already are talking about trading one of his top offensive weapons.
Tight end O.J. Howard, the team’s first-round pick out of Alabama in the 2017 NFL Draft, reportedly is available via trade, according to former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, now of The Athletic.
“I think Howard’s got a great name, but I think there’s an instinctive issue going on. I think he’s going to be available,” Lombardi said on his podcast, The GM Shuffle.
The Bucs signed Brady to a guaranteed two-year deal worth $50 million last month to quarterback an offense that boasts wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who both totaled over 1,000 receiving yards last season.
The Patriots’ offense slipped significantly last season after star tight end Rob Gronkowski retired. Though, Howard has yet to match the potential that he flashed with the Crimson Tide.
Howard, the 19th overall selection in 2017, matched a career-high with 34 receptions for 459 yards in 14 games last season. Bucs coach Bruce Arians said in November that the 6-6 Howard is “a talented, talented guy, but it’s not showing up on Sundays.”
Lombardi, a former defensive lineman at Hofstra who served as GM of the Cleveland Browns in 2013-14, added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Howard is moved ahead of the draft next week.