Will the New England Patriots make a splash before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET NFL trade deadline?
CBS’ Jason La Canfora isn’t ruling it out, as the NFL reporter predicted Monday night that New England will bolster its pass-catching corps by swinging a trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard.
La Canfora made his prediction while unveiling a list of “hunches” on where some of the most coveted trade options will land before the deadline, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into the speculation, although Howard has been linked to the Patriots in recent rumors.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported last week that the Patriots asked about Howard but were turned away by the Bucs. However, ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported Monday, citing sources, that Tampa Bay would “consider” trading the 2017 first-round pick for a “substantial offer,” so maybe New England will kick the tires again and ultimately make something happen.
Howard, who turns 25 on Nov. 19, hasn’t lived up to his potential this season, totaling just 13 catches for 176 yards in six games. The Alabama product comes with plenty of upside, though, and the Patriots have struggled to replace tight end Rob Gronkowski, who retired this past offseason.
Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson were New England’s only two active tight ends for the team’s Week 8 win over the Cleveland Browns, as Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) have been battling injuries.