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Bucs TE O.J. Howard practiced Friday for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles in October. Barring a setback, he appears on track for Week 1. The former 1st-rounder is in play as a late-round TE3 in FFPC best balls.

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It doesn't sound like The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia expects O.J. Howard to push Dawson Knox for the Bills' starting TE job. "Howard has not looked like the dynamic pass catcher he was when he was a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017," Buscaglia writes. "He also looks like he can be an excellent blocker for 12 personnel while still offering a pass-catching threat. But his movement skills are well below what Knox brings to the table." We'll keep an eye on this situation in August, but we bumped Knox up the TE Rankings and Howard down.

The Bills signed TE O.J. Howard to a 1-year deal. It has a $3.5 million base value that can climb to $5 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The relative cheapness of the contract points to where Howard's career is at. The 19th overall pick of the 2017 draft dealt with ankle, foot and hamstring injuries over his first 3 seasons but averaged 15.5 yards per catch and scored 12 TDs. A torn Achilles ended his 2020 season in Week 4, though, and Howard caught just 14 balls behind Rob Gronkowski this past year. Still, he's just 27 with a strong pedigree. And he lands in a top-notch Bills offense. TE Dawson Knox is the incumbent in Buffalo, coming off a career-best 49-587-9 line in his 3rd season. But we imagine that this will be an open competition for the starting job this summer.

3:01pm EDT 10/24/21

Bucs TE O.J. Howard (ankle) is active for today’s game against the Bears. He got in a full practice on Friday, so we’re not worried about the ankle. Howard figures to split pass-catching duties with TE Cameron Brate as TE Rob Gronkowski misses another game.

Bucs TE O.J. Howard (ankle) is listed as questionable for this weekend's game vs. the Bears. He put in a full practice on Friday, though, so Howard should be ready to go on Sunday. He'll share pass-catching duties with TE Cameron Brate with TE Rob Gronkowski out.

Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard returned to the practice field at the end of July, but that doesn't mean he's all the way back physically, coming off the Achilles' tendon tear that ended his 2020 season. “He’s not there yet," HC Bruce Arians said in his Monday press conference. "He had a chance to make a couple grimy chances in the end zone today [and] didn’t come up with them. I expect him to make those. He’s still catching up to the speed of it and the physicality of it. He’s been out a long time, so he needs this camp.” Howard remains a later-round flier in all formats, so it's easy to take on the risk that he doesn't rebound all the way. The upside, of course, is that he does get back close to 100% of his previous level and takes the receiving lead among Tampa Bay TEs. We'll see how he progresses through the rest of camp and preseason.

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