The Oakland Raiders have agreed to terms with former New York Jets right tackle Austin Howard on a five-year, $30 million contract Tuesday. The deal included $15 million in guarantees. Interestingly enough, the Jets also offered him a five-year deal worth $30 million but he chose to come to Oakland instead.
Considered a liability early in his Jets career, Howard worked extremely hard to develop into a quality pass protector and run blocker. Earlier in the day the Raiders also signed former Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. He and Saffold will provide security at the bookends of the offensive line.
Howard, 26 and a former undrafted free agent, was one of the top right tackles available in this year’s free agent class. With the Raiders offensive line struggling last year, it was a certainty that general manager Reggie McKenzie would attempt to shore up the unit. While he is not a sexy name like Jared Veldheer, Brandon Albert or Eugene Monroe, he is a massive tackle who plays with aggression and is a very good run blocker.
The Raiders are not making any big splash signings, but McKenzie is signing quality offensive lineman and the unit already looks better than it did when Veldheer was still with the team.