O.J. Howard

Buffalo Bills
Tight End #80
Buffalo Bills
Tight End #80
Photo: Icon Sportswire

O.J. Howard News

Heading north to Buffalo

Howard is signing with the Bills on a one-year, $3.5 million deal worth up to $5 million, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, per a source.

Analysis: Howard has never quite lived up to his first-round pedigree, much of that due to some injury-plagued seasons, but this is a good landing spot for Phase 2 of his NFL career. Dawson Knox is the clear-cut No. 1 in Buffalo, but if anything put Knox on the shelf, Howard has the skillset to thrive in such a high-powered offense. Even with Knox on the field, the Bills have very little behind him, so Howard should see some targets even as he's getting his feet wet with his new squad.

Mar 16, 2022 3:56 PM EST

One catch in season-ending loss

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.

Analysis: 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.

Jan 24, 2022 11:53 AM EST

One grab in playoff opener

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.

Analysis: 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.

Jan 17, 2022 8:12 PM EST

Thoroughly disappointing season

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.

Analysis: 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 almost certainly set to ply his trade elsewhere in 2022.

Jan 13, 2022 3:11 PM EST

Another stat-less game

Howard logged 14 snaps in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Jets but did not draw a target.

Analysis: 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 non-factor in Week 18 against the Panthers unless coach Bruce Arians elects so sit Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate for significant portions of the contest ahead of the postseason.

Jan 4, 2022 6:58 PM EST

No targets on 24 snaps

Howard was not targeted during the Buccaneers' 32-6 win over the Panthers on Sunday.

Analysis: The athletic tight end continues to profile as a complete non-factor in the air attack, irrespective of the number of absent pass-catchers in any given week. Howard's snap count was actually only seven behind position mate Cameron Brate's, but while the latter at least seems to be good for 3-to-4 targets most weeks, the former is utilized exclusively as a run blocker these days.

Dec 28, 2021 9:01 PM EST

Minimal involvement again

Howard failed to bring in his only target over 10 snaps in the Buccaneers' 9-0 loss to the Saints on Sunday night.

Analysis: The fifth-year veteran was once again an afterthought, even with all of Mike Evans (hamstring), Chris Godwin (knee) and Leonard Fournette (hamstring) all exiting the contest early. With Antonio Brown set to step in for Godwin beginning with the Week 16 contest against the Panthers, Howard may not see even the slightest uptick in opportunity, especially if Evans also manages to avoid an absence in that contest.

Dec 20, 2021 9:38 PM EST

No targets over six snaps

Howard did not draw a target over six snaps during the Buccaneers' 30-17 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

Analysis: Howard's disappearing act from the offense continued Sunday, with the veteran failing to see a target for the second straight game and third time in the last four contests overall. The 27-year-old figures to continue as an afterthought in the offense as long as Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate are healthy in front of him.

Dec 6, 2021 7:21 PM EST

No stats in Week 12 win

Howard did not record a target during his nine snaps from scrimmage in Sunday's 38-31 win over the Colts.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end logged 13 fewer snaps than Cameron Brate and 46 less than Rob Gronkowski, leaving no doubt as to his spot in the positional pecking order. Howard now has all of one target over the last three contests, and Sunday's snap count was his lowest since Week 1, when he began to be worked back into action from his October 2020 Achilles tear.

Nov 29, 2021 9:38 PM EST

One target in Gronk's return

Howard secured his only target for a 10-yard gain in the Buccaneers' 30-10 win over the Giants on Monday night.

Analysis: Howard was third among the Buccaneers' tight ends in snap share (26%) and targets, fitting given his apparent slotting in the positional pecking order. With Rob Gronkowski back in action Monday night and seemingly back to health, Howard is likely to continue operating in a minimal role during a Week 12 matchup against the Colts.

Nov 23, 2021 9:17 PM EST

No targets in Week 10 loss

Howard did not see a target over his 28 snaps from scrimmage during Sunday's 29-19 loss to Washington, but his lack of looks were unrelated to the fact he committed a false start penalty on the first play of the game, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end's total lack of opportunity was especially disappointing when considering Rob Gronkowski (back) remained out of action. Howard had at least shown signs of an offensive pulse over the last month-plus with multiple receptions in three of the past four games, but if Gronkowski can make it back for Monday night's game against the Giants, the Alabama product could be a non-factor for a second straight contest.

Nov 15, 2021 10:01 PM EST

Two grabs in loss

Howard secured two of three targets for 16 yards in the Buccaneers' 36-27 loss to the Saints on Sunday.

Analysis: The fifth-year veteran logged 28 snaps (46% share) overall, with the fact Rob Gronkowski exited in his return after just six snaps due to back spasms certainly helping Howard's cause. The Alabama product has now produced multiple catches in three of the past four games, and if Gronkowski's back issues don't clear up over the Buccaneers' Week 9 bye, Howard could remain on the fantasy radar in Week 10 against Washington.

Nov 1, 2021 7:29 AM EST

Remains limited Thursday

Howard (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity Thursday.

Analysis: The Buccaneers are readying for the return of top TE Rob Gronkowski for the first time since Week 3 due to cracked and fractured ribs and a punctured lung. After getting back on the practice field Wednesday as a limited participant -- just like Howard -- Gronkowski jumped all the way to full Thursday. Howard thus appears to be the least healthy of the team's tight ends behind Gronkowski and Cameron Brate, but ultimately Friday's injury report may clear up all of their statuses for Sunday's game in New Orleans.

Oct 28, 2021 2:30 PM EST

Stays limited by ankle issue

Howard (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice, Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' official site reports.

Analysis: Howard followed a DNP/LP/FP practice regimen last week before being listed as questionable for this past Sunday's game against the Bears. He was active and logged 51 percent of the offensive snaps, but he gathered in just one of three targets for nine yards in the blowout victory. With Rob Gronkowski (ribs) back on the practice field Wednesday, the breakdown of TE snaps between him, Howard and Cameron Brate is poised to change in the near future. Whether that happens this Sunday in New Orleans is contingent upon how Gronkowski fares in his first on-field work since getting injured Week 3.

Oct 27, 2021 1:45 PM EST

Held to one grab in win

Howard (ankle) brought in one of three targets for nine yards in the Buccaneers' 38-3 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Analysis: The veteran tight end was coming off a season-best 6-49-1 line against the Eagles in Week 6, but he was right back to a minimal role Sunday despite the absences of both Antonio Brown (ankle) and Rob Gronkowski (ribs). Howard did log a solid 37 snaps, but with Gronkowski potentially back for a Week 8 matchup against the Saints, his opportunities could dry up further as early as Sunday.

Oct 25, 2021 7:42 PM EST

Active against Bears

Howard (ankle) is active for Sunday's game against the Bears, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end was able to work back to full practice participation Friday, so the questionable tag he carried into the weekend always had at least a bit of skepticism attached. Howard is now officially available to help Cameron Brate shoulder the workload at tight end against the Bears in what will be Rob Gronkowski's third straight absence. The 26-year-old is coming off a season-best 6-49-1 against the Eagles in Week 6.

Oct 24, 2021 12:05 PM EST

Listed on final report despite FP

Howard (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears, despite being a full practice participant Friday.

Analysis: The tight end took a step forward each day, going DNP-LP-FP on the injury report. Howard should be active for the 4:25 ET kickoff, but if not, Cameron Brate will get more playing time and targets. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski (ribs) still hasn't returned to practice.

Oct 22, 2021 11:49 AM EST

Logs limited practice Thursday

Howard (ankle) was limited at Thursday's practice.

Analysis: While Greg Auman of The Athletic noted Howard was holding a helmet and didn't seem to be inhibited in the portion of the session open to the media, the Buccaneers officially put him down as a limited participant. That may just mean Howard didn't take part in any or all team drills, but in any case he's trending in the right direction in advance of Sunday's game versus the Bears. With Rob Gronkowski (ribs) still unable to practice, Howard and Cameron Brate are slated to handle tight end for a fourth consecutive contest this weekend, assuming Howard is available.

Oct 21, 2021 2:20 PM EST

Tending to ankle injury

Howard didn't practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury.

Analysis: Howard was absent from the portion of Wednesday's session open to the media, and now the reason for his DNP is known. He joins Rob Gronkowski (ribs) as a non-participant, which leaves just Cameron Brate as the only healthy tight end on the Buccaneers' roster. Howard will look to get back on the field during the team's final two practices of Week 7 prep.

Oct 20, 2021 2:32 PM EST

Breaks out with six catches

Howard secured six of seven targets for 49 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 28-22 win over the Eagles on Thursday night.

Analysis: The seldom-used tight end surprisingly broke out for season-best catch and yardage totals in the primetime win, adding his first touchdown of the season on a two-yard scoring grab to cap off a 10-play game-opening drive. Howard's expanded opportunity came due to the ongoing absence of Rob Gronkowski (ribs), but it was still noteworthy when considering he doubled up position mate Cameron Brate in catches while also logging three more targets. Despite the encouraging performance, Howard's fantasy value could quickly take a hit if Gronkowski is able to return for the Week 7 home matchup versus the Bears, as currently expected.

Oct 14, 2021 9:34 PM EST

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