In order for the Baltimore Ravens to make the necessary moves they want to do, they were going to have to make some difficult roster decisions. Baltimore has done that by releasing Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin. The team has now recently restructured Brandon Williams’ contract. They also declined Austin Howard’s options, which came as no surprise after Baltimore brought back offensive linemen James Hurst on a 4-year contract extension worth up to $17.5 million, with $8 million guaranteed.
The Ravens were fortunate by signing Howard last year. Rick Wagner departed in free agency to the Detroit Lions last off-season. Alex Lewis, who was in the running to replace Wagner at right tackle, had to get shoulder surgery, forcing him to miss the season. The Oakland Raiders released Howard, and Baltimore quickly pounced, giving him a 3-year, $16 million deal. Howard had a slow start to the season, but persevered and helped the offensive line get better as the year went on.
With the Ravens declining his option and saving $3 million in cap space, Howard is looking for a new home for the second consecutive year, and it looks like he will have suitors. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Howard is drawing “considerable interest” from the New England Patriots.
With Nate Solder off the board, the #Patriots would like to bring back one or both of the top tackles available: Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle. Former #Ravens OT Austin Howard also drawing considerable interest.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2018
The Patriots recently lost left tackle Nate Solder to the New York Giants, along with Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola also departing for the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins respectively. While Howard has played mostly right tackle as a Raven, Raider, and New York Jet during the course of his career, he could stay at the position. New England could move Marcus Cannon to quarterback Tom Brady’s blind side, putting Howard at right tackle if they can sign him.
Howard has always been a dependable offensive lineman and overall, did a solid job for the Ravens last year. However, the team likes Lewis as a right tackle due to his versatility, and he did well at left guard two seasons ago. Hurst is penciled in as the starting left guard for 2018, leaving Lewis to possibly take over Howard’s former spot. A place like the Patriots would be a great option for Howard’s services.