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O.J. Howard Expected To Ink Deal With The Cincinnati Bengals

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills tight end O.J. Howard plans to sign a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals today after clearing waivers and passing a physical. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network

Howard was a former 1st round pick out of Alabama, and a torn Achilles has limited his ability to get back to that athletic self. However, he still remains just 27 years old and is a significantly above-average blocker. And naturally, he is still very gifted in the pass-catching game; he just needs to find that rhythm again with a QB. That QB could just be Joe Burrow.


That was fast: The #Bengals are hosting FA TE OJ Howard on a visit today and assuming all goes well with the physical, he’s expected to sign, source said. The former first-rounder was a surprising cut yesterday and this should come together today. — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 31, 2022

The Bengals need tight end depth, and Howard adds that. He’s a guy who is used to playing in two tight-end sets with the offensive talent surrounding him. Howard, Hurst, and Sample should provide a much-needed competent tight end room for the Bengals to work with and scheme with. Howard is a very strong and tall tight end.

He stands at 6-foot-6 and has the capability to make over-the-top catches. Although, as I mentioned, he needs to show that he can still do those types of things. Buffalo cutting him saved them almost $3 million, so the question of why they released him could be a few different things. But the most reasonable one is that he didn’t live up to his contract numbers, and it made more financial sense to release him. That doesn’t mean he can’t play in this league, though.

Howard could be a system guy. He had some success in Tampa Bay with Brady. The exemplary system that puts him in a position to succeed could see the best version of Howard, which is what the Bengals hope happens. Hayden Hurst has had a good camp with the Bengals, so I don’t expect them to split snaps by any means.

Hurst will likely have the highest usage rate among the tight ends on the roster, but depth is very important, and Howard provides that. And once he learns the offense and understands his role, he could take this offensive team to another level in terms of natural talent on the field and ability to cause the defense coverage problems. Nonetheless, Howard should have a deal in ink if all goes well by the end of the day.

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