Report: Bucs Told Patriots No on O.J. Howard Trade

Luke Easterling

After a slow start to the 2019 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has been a popular subject of trade talks among the NFL rumor mill.

Unfortunately for teams interested in the former first-round pick, the Bucs don't seem interested in dealing him.

MMQB's Albert Breer reports that the New England Patriots recently inquired about Howard's availability, but the Bucs told them no:

The Patriots’ decision to bring Benjamin Watson back after Matt LaCosse went to IR only further illustrates the team’s problems at Rob Gronkowski’s old spot. Eight days until the trade deadline. New England already asked, and was told no on, Buccaneers tight end OJ Howard. I’d expect they’ll be turning over rocks this week at the position.

The No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Howard was similarly underused in Alabama's run-heavy attack in college. After flashing big-play potential in his first two seasons with the Bucs (averaging 16.6 yards per catch), Howard has struggled to get many looks this season, and hasn't made the most of his few opportunities. 

The former Crimson Tide star has had multiple drops, and lost a crucial fumble in the red zone during Tampa Bay's Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Both head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have been adamant that Howard's time is coming, and that he'll be more involved in the offense as the season progresses. But with weapons like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as another capable tight end in Cameron Brate also on the roster, many will continue to wonder if Howard's talents would be of better use elsewhere in the league.