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Report: Ravens “close to finalizing deal” with free agent OT Austin Howard

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Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Last night, it was reported that free agent offensive tackle Austin Howard was in Baltimore visiting with the Ravens. This morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Ravens and Howard are nearing a deal.

Before visiting with the Ravens, Howard visited with the Houston Texans, but left without a deal. The Ravens do not want to allow the same thing to happen.

Howard will be inserted into a right tackle competition that currently features James Hurst, De’Ondre Wesley and Jermaine Eluemunor. If Howard passes the physical and the Ravens are able to complete the deal, Howard will immediately become the favorite to win the right tackle job.

The Ravens do have some history with Howard. Howard was once a practice squad player for the Ravens. In addition, Howard played under Marty Mornhinweg in 2013 with the Jets.

Howard has played significant time on both the Raiders and the Jets. Yesterday, when it was reported that the Ravens were having Howard in for a visit, I wrote, “In three seasons with the Raiders, Howard started 39 of 40 games. Howard started his career with the Eagles before going to the Jets. With the Jets, Howard started all 16 games in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.”

The Ravens offensive line as it currently stands is a big question mark for the Ravens. The center and right tackle position are both up for grabs. But the Ravens can take away one of the uncertainties by brining in Howard to play right tackle.