Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard responds to Patriots trade rumors

Nick Goss

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard's future has been in question with the NFL trade deadline looming, and the rumors linking him to the New England Patriots wasn't a shock to him.

The Patriots reportedly reached out to the Buccaneers to ask about a potential deal involving Howard, but Tampa Bay wasn't interested. 

Howard was asked Tuesday about the trade rumors involving him and the Patriots, giving him an opportunity to talk up his talents.

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The Buccaneers selected Howard with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and despite catching 11 touchdown passes in his first two pro seasons, he has not made much of an impact in Tampa Bay's passing attack in 2019.

Howard has tallied 13 receptions for 176 yards and zero touchdowns on 18 targets this season. He's averaging only three targets per game, which is less than ideal for a tight end with impressive talent and size (6-foot-6 and 251 pounds). 

The Patriots reportedly acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round draft pick Tuesday, but they still have plenty of 2020 draft picks to use in other trades to address remaining roster weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is tight end, where two newcomers, Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson, suited up at the position for New England in Monday night's 33-0 road win over the New York Jets. Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) both were ruled out of the Week 7 victory, creating concerns about the Patriots' depth at tight end. 

The trade deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET. 

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Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard responds to Patriots trade rumors originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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