Howard agreed Wednesday with the Bills on a one-year, $3.5 million contract that contains an additional $1.5 million in incentives, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Howard has never quite lived up to his first-round pedigree, much of that due to some injury-plagued seasons, but Buffalo is good landing spot for Phase 2 of his NFL career. Dawson Knox is the clear-cut No. 1 tight end in Buffalo, but if anything were to keep Knox sidelined, Howard has the skill set to thrive in such a high-powered offense. Even with Knox on the field, the Bills have little established depth behind him, so Howard should see some targets even as he's getting his feet wet with his new squad.
Howard brought in his sole target for seven yards during the Buccaneers' 30-27 loss to the Rams in their NFC divisional-round matchup Sunday. In what may have been his last game in a Buccaneers uniform, Howard primarily filled his usual blocking role over his 11 snaps on offense. The fifth-year tight end now heads into an offseason of uncertainty, as Tampa Bay has essentially shown no interest in retaining the 27-year-old despite having invested the 19th overall pick in him back in 2017. If Howard does indeed suit up elsewhere in 2022, he'll finish his Bucs career with just 25 receptions for 281 yards and three touchdowns on 40 targets over 21 games across the last two seasons.
Howard brought in his only target for three yards during the Buccaneers' 31-15 win over the Eagles in an NFC wild-card matchup Sunday. Howard surprisingly saw a target after being utilized exclusively as a blocker for the last three games of the regular season. Despite the one grab Sunday, Howard has virtually no fantasy value in postseason contests as long as Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate are healthy in front of him.
Howard, who did not draw a target over nine snaps in the Buccaneers' 41-17 win over the Panthers in Week 18, finished the 2021 season with 14 receptions (21 targets), 135 yards and a touchdown across 17 games. Hopes were high for the 2017 first-round pick as recently as last season before he suffered an Achilles tear in Week 4, and Howard was never able to truly reignite his nascent but promising 2020 connection with Tom Brady this past season. In fairness, the 27-year-old didn't exactly have much of a chance to do so, as he was increasingly utilized exclusively as a blocker down the stretch. Howard has now played out the entirety of his rookie contract, and with seemingly zero indication from the Buccaneers that there's an interest in bringing him back, the athletic but oft-injured Alabama product is virtually certain to ply his trade elsewhere in 2022.
Howard logged 14 snaps in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Jets but did not draw a target. Howard now has two straight games without a target and has logged all of two looks since Week 9. The fifth-year veteran figures to remain a complete nonfactor in Week 18 against the Panthers unless coach Bruce Arians elects to sit Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate for significant portions of the contest ahead of the postseason.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||@Los Angeles Rams||9||5.62|
|6||10/16||@Kansas City Chiefs||10||5.80|
|8||10/30||Green Bay Packers||22||7.67|
|9||11/06||@New York Jets||27||8.82|
|13||12/01||@New England Patriots||6||5.00|
|14||12/11||New York Jets||27||8.82|
|18||01/08||New England Patriots||6||5.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||31||20||247||1||14||12.35||30|