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Bucs Reportedly Decide On O.J. Howard Contract Option

O.J. Howard warms up before a game.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 06: O.J. Howard #80 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in action during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on October 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an embarrassment of riches at tight end, as the current depth chart features Cameron Brate, Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard. Many analysts have wondered if the Alabama product could be on his way out of town.

Howard was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Despite all his natural talent, the Buccaneers haven't found a way to make him a reliable option in the passing game. This past season, he had just 34 receptions for 459 yards and a touchdown.

If the Buccaneers place Howard on the trade block, plenty of teams would show interest. However, the latest move from the front office indicates that he'll be around for the foreseeable future.

According to PewterReport.com, the Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on Howard's rookie contract. This means he's locked in through the 2021 season.

The salary for the fifth-year option on Howard's contract is worth $6.2 million for the 2021 season.

In order to earn a lucrative salary down the road with either Tampa Bay or another franchise, Howard needs to have a strong showing next season.

Bruce Arians' offense doesn't utilize tight ends very much, but now that Tom Brady is the quarterback for Tampa Bay it's possible that changes are coming to the scheme.

We'll find out this fall if Howard can bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season.