Today the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran offensive tackle Austin Howard, formerly with the Jets and Raiders. The deal between Howard and the Ravens is reportedly a three year, $16 million deal, with options after each year. To make room on the roster for Howard, the Ravens have released tight end, Crockett Gillmore. This comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Gillmore has played well when healthy for Baltimore. However, he has dealt with constant injury problems since entering the league in 2014. Howard now comes into the Ravens, to compete for the starting right tackle spot. He will face off against the young and talented James Hurst.
The Baltimore Ravens have been looking for an experienced offensive tackle to add to the roster this offseason, and Austin Howard is just the player. Howard started his career in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2010, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. After being waved from the Eagles, in 2011 he joined the Ravens’ practice squad. He was later signed to the Jets active roster off the Ravens’ practice squad in 2011. In 2012 he won the starting right tackle job over Wayne Hunter for the Jets. In 2014 the Oakland Raiders signed Howard to a five year, $30 million deal. In 2016 Howard sustained an ankle injury and missed five games. He was released by the Raiders in late July of 2017.
Howard now will face off against right tackle James Hurst for the starting job. Although Howard has the experience that Hurst does not, he still has injury concerns. James Hurst will not go down easy, and this could become a real competition. The Ravens are now in a good position at tackle. The second year tackle, Ronnie Stanley, should continue to hold down the left side very well. Meanwhile, either Hurst or Howard can start on the right side. The Ravens also will have a guaranteed solid backup going into the season, as long as both Hurst and Howard remain healthy.
Unfortunately, the Ravens had to waive one player to make room for Howard, and that unlucky man was Crockett Gillmore. Gillmore was looking to be a big part of the Ravens offense this season but went down with a knee injury. Gillmore has dealt with injuries throughout his entire NFL career. His most recent one this summer would have made him miss the entire season. Crockett Gillmore was also set to become a free agent after this season, and there was a good chance that the Ravens would have lost him anyway. If no other team claims Gillmore off the waiver wire, he will end up on the Ravens injury reserve. The potential that a healthy Gillmore has is exceptional, however, no team will go after him. There is no point in claiming Gillmore only to not have the ability to play him all season, and risk him leaving in free agency. This means that the Ravens will likely get Gillmore on the injury reserve. For the organization, this is very much a calculated risk, but the odds seem to go in Baltimore’s favor on this gamble.