3 bold predictions for Cincinnati Bengals’ 2022 offseason
2. Bengals sign Bucs tight end
Nope, not the one you think! Rob Gronkowski has openly opined about playing with Joe Burrow, but he just doesn’t make sense. As much as I’d like Gronk here, does he REALLY strike anyone as a Cincinnati guy?
Rob Gronkowski wants another ring. Who can blame him? What better place than a franchise that was half a minute and some competent officiating away from one? Well, folks, he isn’t the Tampa tight end this team needs.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet O.J. Howard. Ever heard of him? You should’ve. Howard was the 18th pick of the 2017 draft by the Buccaneers. Howard is 6’6″, and 251 pounds, and ran a 4.5 forty coming out of Alabama. Think Auden Tate size, but he can run. So what’s the issue? Why isn’t he a perennial All-Pro?
Well, Bruce Arians comes to mind, as does Jameis Winston and Tom Brady. Neither coach nor quarterbacks have been overly inclined to utilize the tight end, Gronk notwithstanding. With the weapons in Tampa and the fact that Howard was drafted by the previous regime in one Dirk Koetter, it’s not shocking that Howard has been criminally underused.
A scenery change to Cincinnati could benefit player and franchise. Howard could be the seam stretching threat the Bengals lacked at the position in 2021.
Now don’t misunderstand, I love C.J. Uzomah and what he brings to the locker room and the field. Re-signing Uzomah, at the right price, should be a priority. Uzomah could command more than the Bengals should pay him. If that happens, good for him, take that money and we will always love the player he was for us.
Considering the 27-year-old Howard should come relatively cheap, perhaps even at a one-year “prove it” price, it should be feasible to pay both Howard and Uzomah and jettison second-round bust Drew Sample (second round? Still can’t believe it). The ability to move Howard around the formation and utilize his speed could potentially unleash an offensive onslaught the Queen City has never seen.