Packers should be at front of line to trade for O.J. Howard

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now pretty much have to part with O.J. Howard, and the Green Bay Packers should be ready to oblige.

Rumors became reality on Tuesday afternoon, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots to reunite him with Tom Brady. But they now have a log jam at tight end, with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate already in place.

Howard has been the subject of trade rumors again recently, and those rumors now seem ready to tilt toward urgent with the draft starting Thursday night. For what it’s worth, a report has already surfaced suggesting the Buccaneers are content to use Gronkowski and Howard in what would be a formidable two-tight end set unless they’re “blown away” by a trade offer.

In a certain light, the Buccaneers would probably prefer to trade Brate. Howard’s upside is far greater, it’s just worth wondering if he will ever put it all together in Tampa Bay.

When Jermichael Finley was fully healthy at still at his peak, the Green Bay Packers had a real threat at tight end. But since that 2012 campaign, there has been a really significant void there. The Jimmy Graham experiment didn’t work, and the decision to cut him this offseason was easy since it came with $8 million in cleared cap space.

The Packers are now counting on 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger to be their No. 1 tight end. He played just six regular games last year due to a foot injury, and his first career catches came in the playoffs. Marcedes Lewis was re-signed, and Robert Tonyan currently fills out the tight end depth chart for Green Bay.

Beyond Davante Adams, even with the likelihood they’ll draft a wide receiver, the Packers lack weapons in the passing game. An athletic, field stretching tight end like Howard, who showed scoring prowess before last year (11 touchdowns in his first two seasons) would fit in quite nicely.

Related Story: 5 teams who should trade for O.J. Howard

Sternberger averaged over 17 yards per catch in his final season at Texas A&M, so he’s easy to tab as a similar player to Howard. But Howard is a more proven commodity, and Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst should already be shaping a trade offer to call Tampa Bay with some time over the next few days.


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