The Las Vegas Raiders were in the market for a new tight end after trading star pass-catcher Darren Waller to the New York Giants, and they have found a prospective replacement. The Raiders have signed former first-round pick O.J. Howard, the team announced.
Howard spent last season with the Houston Texans after being cut by the Buffalo Bills in the preseason. In 13 games played, he caught 10 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Originally selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Alabama, Howard spent his first five NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a rookie, Howard caught 26 passes for 432 yards and a career-high six touchdowns.
Howard had the fifth-year option on his rookie contract exercised, but was allowed to walk in free agency last offseason. In 59 games played for the Buccaneers, Howard caught 119 passes for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Just 28 years old, Howard still has potential, and can serve as a red-zone target for new Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The Raiders certainly needed to add to the position, as Cole Fotheringham and Jesper Horsted are the only tight ends currently on the roster.