Former Buccaneers first-round pick in danger of being released, again

The once highly touted offensive weapon is in danger of losing his job…again.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look toward the future, one of the burning questions on the horizon is who will be here to help the team usher in a new era and which players will be victims of training camp cuts?

Assessing the Bucs projected 53-man roster, there are some names that won’t be there that fans will remember seeing during the season last year. It’s never easy to trim the roster down, but it’s an unfortunate part of the business.

It’s not the first or last time the difficult decision of putting together the roster will need to be made, and the Bucs aren’t alone in their journey. Former Buccaneers players elsewhere in the league are in the same boat as the ones preparing to head to Tampa Bay for training camp.

The future looks particularly murky for one former first round pick.

Former Buccaneers first round pick in danger of losing job with Raiders

In a piece over at Bleacher Report, NFL writer Kristopher Knox buzzed through some potential veteran camp cuts that could happen in training camp. One of the names he tosses out is familiar to millions of Bucs fans as someone who was once a highly touted first round pick: O.J. Howard.

Howard joined the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason as part of the second wave of signings, but his time with the team could be short lived. A month after signing Howard, the Raiders drafted Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer — once a rumored Bucs draft target — which casts doubt over what the future holds.

”If Mayer manages to claim the starting job in camp, one of the veteran additions could be out. Of the two, Howard is the most likely bubble candidate,” Knox writes.

The other bubble player is former Patriots right end Hunter Henry, but it sounds like Howard might be the odd man out.

Before drafting Mayer things looked to be in pretty good shape for Howard. The Raiders traded Darren Waller to the Giants and lost Foster Moreau to the Saints, two things that opened up a huge opportunity to fill some shoes.

What made the opportunity even better was it looked like Howard was in a spot to get his career back on track. He put in some decent years with the Buccaneers after being the team’s first round pick back in 2017 but never really lived up to the billing. Howard left after the 2021 season to sign with the Buffalo Bills but was released as part of the team’s final wave of roster cuts in training camp.

He spent all of last season with the Texans and while he played well he was lost in how bad the sauce was in Houston. Joining the Raiders seemed like a step in the right direction but now his future there is being called into question.

It’s worth mentioning that Howard hasn’t been cut yet, so there’s still a chance he makes the team and is indeed able to bounce back.