The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to exercise its fifth-year option on 2017 first-round draft pick O.J. Howard. The move ensures he is under contract through the 2021 season. The Bucs made the decision prior to the May 4 deadline and should provide a considerable raise for Howard in 2021.

Howard signed a four-year $11 million contract upon getting drafted in 2017, he should earn just over $6 million in 2021. He is the third former Crimson Tide player to have their fifth-year option picked up this week.

The tight end has played in 38 games in his career with 94 receptions, 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed accomplished quarterback Tom Brady and traded for his former New England teammate Rob Gronkwoski in this offseason.

Howard was rumored to be on the trading block but an agreement with the Washington Redskins fell through prior to the draft. Tampa Bay may still opt to trade Howard, but exercising the option on his contract ensures the Bucs control of his rights for two more seasons.

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