Image Credit: (Jeff Barnes/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
Welcome to another article in my writing series that I call The Stunning Cut. This is a series where I look at cuts in the preseason or in the regular season that stunned many when the news was released. With today being final cut day, I am going to focus on the more recent cuts that are going on now. Today is going to be one of the most difficult days in the league as teams trim their rosters down from 80 to 53 players. It is tough to do, but the NFL is a business and sometimes businesses must make the tough moves of letting people go. When going through the cut list this morning and getting my notes ready, there is one name as of now that stood out to me and his name is TE OJ Howard. It shocked me when I heard about this move and thought I would do a deep dive on Howard.
Who is OJ Howard?
OJ Howard is a football player who plays at the tight end position. Coming into college football he was a 4 star recruit and there were some that had him as a 5 star recruit. Many colleges were trying to recruit him, but Howard decided to play for Alabama University. Howard impressed during his time in Alabama and built himself up to be a 1st round draft pick. He was originally going to be a Top 10 pick in the draft, but teams decided to pass on him. Luckily Howard was selected in the first round, 19th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Selecting Howard was just a talent that was way too good for Tampa to pass on and at the time the Bucs already had a solid tight end in Cameron Brate. It looked like the Buccaneers made a solid choice as in his rookie season he had 26 receptions for 432 receiving yards along with 6 touchdowns. The next season he statistically had a strong season as he had 34 catches for 565 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was doing pretty well and was projected to have a stronger season once QB Tom Brady signed with the team. Unfortunately, he suffered a Torn Achilles and was out for the 2020 season. The Buccaneers would pick up his 5th year option, but just could not be able to perform like he did and when he Tore his Achilles with the Buccaneers, his time was done with the team. So the Buffalo Bills decided to bolster the offense by signing OJ Howard to a one year deal. This was a change of scenery that was needed for Howard as once Gronk was added to that offense, it seems like Howard's role was reduced. The move gave Josh Allen another receiver to throw the ball to which is a great idea as this season is absolutely a superbowl or bust for the Bills this season.
The Day Howard Got Cut
Well that is not going to happen anymore as it was reported that the Bills have parted ways with O.J. Howard during final cut day. This was very surprising as the Bills needed to get another piece on that offense along with the goal of winning a Superbowl. Howard did pretty will when he played against the Denver Broncos and even scored a touchdown in that game. Howard did improve as a blocking tight end and I thought that would help secure him a roster spot. Now releasing O.J.Howard was strange as well as looking at his contract around 3.19 million was guaranteed and the Bills will have to pay a ded cap of 2.62 million in 2022 and 625 thousand in 2023.
The Aftermath of Getting Cut/What could happen?
As of the time I am writing this, OJ Howard was just cut from the Bills around an hour ago by the time I am writing this. I don’t think that this is the end of TE OJ Howard as he was a former 1st round pick and when healthy he is a dependable tight end. Ever since he suffered that Achilles injury, Howard has just not been able to perform well. I hope that he will be able to perform more consistently and showcase his flashes like he did in his rookie and 2nd season in the NFL. I wish Howard luck and that he gets another opportunity in the NFL.
UPDATE: O.J. Howard is expected to sign a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals