Buccaneers: TE O.J. Howard has to be better in 2021

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teammate of Tom Brady Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teammate of Tom Brady Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

O.J. Howard needs a bounce-back season with the Buccaneers in 2021. 

O.J. Howard has all of the tools to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. The combination of size and speed is a necessity at the tight end position in the offense for the Buccaneers, but can Howard actually play that role at his full potential?

For years now, Howard has gone through a cyclical process of going from quality production to questionable play at a rate that is far too high for a player of his draft status. Whether through injuries or down seasons, Howard has done plenty to have some fans question his future in Tampa, and the Bucs’ former first-round pick needs to step it up sooner than later.

Howard has yet to play a full, healthy season for the Buccaneers during his four years in the league. Two seasons with 14 games have been the highlights for Howard, but the Bucs can’t lock him up for the future without a departure from the constant injuries.

With one great season that was cut short from an injury and two other decent seasons to boot, Howard has done more good than bad during his time in Tampa, but he will have to do a lot more in 2021 to earn a decent contract.

The Bucs already don’t have much to invest in non-essential players, and Howard won’t crack this list if he doesn’t make strides towards where a player of his potential should be.

The good news for the Buccaneers and Howard is he is officially back in training camp and able to work on his game. There have been several moments that haven’t impressed, mostly with dropped passes, but we can’t forget that Howard is coming off a massive injury.

Assuming O.J. Howard can stay healthy for an entire year and build chemistry with Tom Brady during camp; the Bucs will keep one of the best tight end rooms in the NFL, and Howard will be one of the better free agents to focus on at the end of this season.

Regardless of whether or not the Bucs already have their decision made about Howard’s future, the number two tight end in Tampa has to put together the best season of his career in 2021.

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