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Former Bills TE O.J. Howard Reportedly Will Sign Texans Contract After Bengals Rumors

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 1, 2022

Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

In a seemingly abrupt change of plans, O.J. Howard is headed to Houston.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Texans are set to sign the free-agent tight end after he visited the team Thursday. Most expected Howard to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals after he was in facilities Wednesday.

The Bengals claimed tight end Devin Asiasi off waivers Wednesday as Howard was supposed to visit, so it's unclear if this was a Cincinnati decision or one made by the veteran tight end.

Of note, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Howard never made the trip to Cincinnati:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Cincinnati was interested in Howard but the TE never visited there as scheduled. Bengals claiming TE Devin Asiasi complicated matters. Talks fell through. <a href="https://t.co/OlAgeqMj1t">https://t.co/OlAgeqMj1t</a>

The Buffalo Bills released Howard on Tuesday as part of final roster cuts. He signed a one-year contract with Buffalo in March that included $3.2 million in guarantees. It's likely his deal had offsets baked in, so it would be a surprise if his contract with the Texans is worth more than the minimum.

Despite having a little more than a week to learn the Texans playbook, it's possible Howard winds up being the team's starting tight end for Week 1. Pharoah Brown and Jordan Brevin are the only other tight ends on the roster, neither of whom impressed when they got playing time last season.

Howard, a 2017 first-round pick, spent his first five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's compiled 119 catches for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns but saw a significant dip in playing time the last two seasons amid the arrival of Rob Gronkowski.

The Texans open their 2022 slate against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 11.

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