New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
RT Austin Howard reaches agreement with Oakland
Austin Howard has a new home.
The former Jets right tackle has reached an agreement with the Oakland Raiders, a source confirmed to Newsday. According to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter, it's a five-year, $30 million deal, which includes $15 million guaranteed.
Locking up Howard was a big offseason priority for the Jets. But the right tackle, who turns 27 later this month, became a free agent at Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline after he and the Jets were unable to reach an agreement on a multi-year deal.
Their final offer reportedly wasn’t far off from what the Raiders were willing to pony up, but according to ESPNNewYork.com, general John Idzik “drew a line in the sand.”
Howard, a former undrafted free agent, made the most of his opportunity in Florham Park. After a brief stint with the Eagles in 2010, he was signed to the Ravens practice squad the following season. In Nov. 2011, the Jets signed him off of Baltimore’s p-squad and tabbed him to replace starter Wayne Hunter in 2012. Despite some struggles, Howard became a dependable fixture on the line.
But now the Jets are facing the prospect of replacing the entire right side of their offensive line. Willie Colon, 30, also became a free agent Tuesday. The Jets are taking a wait and see approach with the veteran right guard, who dealt with a calf injury during the season and tore his bicep in the last game.
According to Schefter, Seattle free-agent Breno Giacomini will visit the Jets on Wednesday. The former fifth-round pick of the Packers in 2008 has 33 career starts and was rated No. 41 among NFL tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com Howard was 47th.