After three years with the Oakland Raiders, right tackle Austin Howard has finally been released. Despite being a member of arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, Howard was considered by many to be the weak link, hence Oakland making offensive linemen a subpriority this off-season.
The Oakland Raiders Have Released Austin Howard
OAKLAND!!! A lifetime of memories have been made these past three years, and I am grateful for… https://t.co/1AqbM3WaRU
— Austin Howard (@AustinHoward68) July 28, 2017
Nobody in the NFL gave up fewer sacks than the Oakland Raiders last year. When it was all said and done, silver and black quarterbacks Derek Carr, Matt McGloin, and Connor Cook were only brought down with the ball 18 times, that’s three fewer than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisbger. And that’s where the real meat of the issue lies.
Raider quarterbacks were only sacked 18 times. But Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson didn’t give up a single sack all year. Left tackle Donald Penn didn’t give up a sack until the 16th week of the season. Considering how great Rodney Hudson is, and that Carr gave up a few sacks by scrambling, a name is conspicuous by absence.
Austin Howard was the weakest link on a great offensive line, and with the signing of Marshall Newhouse, the development of Vadal Alexander and Denver Kirkland, and the drafting of David Sharpe and Jylan Ware, the Raiders were looking to make him expendable. This move comes mere hours after the Raiders announced that they were also releasing long-time special teams ace, Taiwan Jones.
With more cuts to come, what are Oakland’s intentions? Are they making cap space so they can sign a veteran inside linebacker or is this part of the long-term scheme to keep Oakland’s nucleus intact? Or, is this just Oakland trimming the fat as they head into training camp?