O.J. Howard could benefit from Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers more than any other player on the team.
Brady has targeted tight ends quite often throughout his 20-year career, and his connection with future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski was legendary. Howard obviously isn't as talented as Gronkowski, but the 2017 first-round pick does have some of the same physical traits. The Bucs tight end is listed at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, and his speed is better than you might expect from a player with that much size and strength.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians even admitted last week that Howard's eyes should "light up" given Brady's history of success with tight ends.
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Howard could finally have a breakout season in 2020 with Brady throwing him the football, so he's understandably eager to get to work with the six-time Super Bowl champion.
“For me, like everyone else, I was hearing the rumors about it, but I had to make sure it was true,” Howard recently said in a team interview. “When he signed, and I knew it was official, it was awesome. Tom is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. So, to be able to have a guy like that with the leadership ability and a known winner on your team, it’s very encouraging to hear.”
Brady isn't the only impactful move the Bucs have made in free agency. They've also upgraded their offensive line and brought back three important players -- Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh -- to a defense that excelled over the second half of the 2019 season.
"We brought our guys back, we got back Shaq, Suh, JPP -- all those guys," Howard said. "Those guys had a heck of a (2019) season. That's encouraging, to see our defense come back. Everybody is on the same page. The future is bright for us. I'm just ready to get it in motion."
Oddsmakers are similarly excited about the Buccaneers' upcoming season. They've given Tampa Bay the fifth-best betting odds to win Super Bowl LV, which actually will be played at the Bucs' home arena, Raymond James Stadium.