Tennessee Titans: Should O.J. Howard trade be pursued?

O.J. Howard is on the trade block but should the Tennessee Titans try to make a move for the former first-round pick at tight end?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about to enter a new era for their franchise, one that includes arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, Tom Brady. With that, Tampa Bay could be looking to rearrange their staple of talented weapons which could end up in them dealing tight end O.J. Howard during or before the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, per The Athletic.

In his young three-year career, Howard has caught 94 passes for just under 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. Although the former Alabama star is coming off of an injury-riddled 2019 season, he is only 25 years old and carries a cap hit of just $1.9 million for the upcoming season.

On top of that, whichever team decides to acquire Howard will also have the luxury of the fifth-year option. All of this put together can very well make Howard a hot commodity on the trade market.

Should the Tennessee Titans be interested in the services of O.J. Howard? It may be somewhat of a tough move to pull off due to the team recently re-signing two backup players at the same position in Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt.

While it’s obvious Howard would bring a different dynamic to the Titans offense, it may be tough to find a trade partner for Firkser or Pruitt. It’s certainly not in the team’s best interest to take on dead money in just flat-out releasing either player so soon after signing them to new deals.

Then there’s the progression of Jonnu Smith to consider. Smith was drafted as the eventual successor to Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker in 2017. While the first two years for Smith weren’t anything to write home about, the former Florida International Panther had a strong 2019 campaign after Walker went down with an injury midseason.

So would the potential addition of Howard hinder Smith’s progression moving forward?

These are all questions that general manager Jon Robinson will be faced with if he’s interested in trying to acquire the 6-6 pass catcher. It should also be noted that Robinson was actually rumored to have had a high level of interest in drafting Howard coming out of college.

There are certainly ways offensive coordinator Arthur Smith can get both Howard and Smith producing in their own specified roles. Obviously, within such a run-heavy offense, multiple tight ends are on the field for a large chunk of the game — meaning Smith likely wouldn’t see a decline in snaps if Howard was brought aboard.

This allows for the Titans offense to possess potentially the most feared duo when it comes to the middle of the field. Combine that with the NFL’s reigning rushing leader, Derrick Henry, and that’s enough to make any coach salivate. Don’t forget the team also has other weapons such as A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries opposing defenses must account for.

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It’s being reported that Tampa Bay is looking for a second-round pick in exchange for Howard. Given the Titans’ current roster situation, there’s a decent chance Robinson could elect to move back in order to acquire more assets. Would both teams be interested in a trade that sends the 29th pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for Howard and the 45th pick? That scenario certainly seems feasible on the surface for both teams.

It’ll be interesting to see if Robinson will be interested in doing business with his former front office colleagues in Tampa Bay to attain the services of O.J. Howard.

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