Bucs to Pick Up 5th-Year Option on TE O.J. Howard

Luke Easterling

As expected, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to exercise their fifth-year option on tight end O.J. Howard, per multiple reports.

After the team traded for Rob Gronkowski, rumors swirled that the Bucs would deal Howard on draft weekend, thanks to their surplus at the position. But despite the presence of both Gronkowski and veteran Cameron Brate, Howard appears to still be in Tampa Bay's plans moving forward.

It's a smart move for the Bucs, who are still hoping to unlock the lofty potential that made Howard the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. A well-rounded prospect who excelled as both a blocker and a receiver at Alabama, Howard has been held back by injuries and inconsistent play over his three seasons in Tampa Bay, but has also shown flashes of brilliance.

Howard gives the Bucs a three-headed monster at tight end to go along with a pair of Pro Bowl wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tom Brady will have no shortage of weapons as he tries to lead Tampa Bay to the playoffs in 2020.

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