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Report: Patriots Inquired About Buccaneers' O.J. Howard, Were Told No

New England tried to see if the Bucs TE was on the trade block and got a definitive answer.

With the NFL trade deadline right around the corner, the New England Patriots are one of the teams trying to acquire more offensive firepower before then. 

Among the needs for New England is tight end. Heading into their Monday night game against the New York Jets, the only active players the Patriots have at that position are veteran Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson. Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) will be joining the team again in the near future once they are fully recovered from their injuries, but even with them healthy the team still lacks talent at the position. 

A report by the MMQB's Albert Breer Monday morning stated that New England inquired about Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard, but were told he's not available for trade.

"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," Breer wrote. "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."

Howard was rumored as a potential trade candidate before the trade deadline because of his lack of production with Bruce Arians' system despite lots of talent. Apparently they have no intentions of shopping their former first round pick before the deadline, so the Patriots will have to look elsewhere for offensive weapons.