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Report: Patriots asked about O.J. Howard’s availability

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NFL: SEP 29 Buccaneers at Rams

Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has not been the same kind of tight end under Bruce Arians that many projected him to be. Many felt he would be much more of a threat in this offense than under the previous regime.

That hasn’t been the case.

Howard, in six games, has recorded 176 yards and no touchdowns this season. In 2018, Howard had 351 yards and two touchdowns though the same span of games.

There is still the likelihood that Howard will eventually breakout this season offensively. And that is probably why the New England Patriots have inquired about the young tight end’s availability, per Albert Breer in SI.com’s MMQB.

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.

Howard has been a big part of the Bucs run game, assisting in run blocking. So while the former Alabama product hasn’t posted huge numbers in the passing game, the plan is to still involve him heavily in the pass game. Hence why it’s not hard to understand why Tampa Bay rejected New England’s request.

The lack of statistical production could be for many reasons: drops, not getting passes thrown his way, not getting separation, etc. The hope is that changes soon.