Despite losing Jared Veldheer in free agency to the Arizona Cardinals, it is apparent that Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is focused on upgrading the offensive line during free agency. The Raiders inked offensive linemen Rodger Saffold earlier in the day to a five year deal and now have agreed to a deal with tackle Austin Howard.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the deal is for five years and 30 million dollars with 15 million guaranteed.
Howard comes to the Raiders from the New York Jets where he started all 16 games last season and in 2012 as well. At 6'7", 333 pounds, Austin brings more size to the Raiders offensive line. He will immediately be penciled in at right tackle, giving the Raiders the ability to use Khalif Barnes inside with Saffold. Then a combination of Menelik Watson as a swing tackle if they choose to play Saffold outside, Stefen Wisniewski at center, and Howard will fill out the right side.
Pro Football Focus had Austin recording only two penalties and two sacks for the entire 2013 season. The Raiders offensive line as a whole was hurt tremendously by penalties and allowed 44 sacks as a unit. The offensive line is one area that McKenzie has focused most of his efforts and it should pay dividends.Tags: Austin Howard, Football, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, Rodger Saffold