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Ravens Sign Experienced Starting Right Tackle Austin Howard


The Ravens have made their move on the offensive line, signing veteran offensive right tackle Austin Howard Friday afternoon.

It's a three-year deal reportedly worth $16 million, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. There are reportedly team options after each year.

Howard will likely step in as the team's first-team right tackle, a position James Hurst has manned throughout the offseason.

Howard, 30, was released by the Oakland Raiders a week ago. He was entering his fourth season with the team after signing a five-year, $30 million deal in 2014.

The Houston Texans were also interested, and Howard reportedly visited them Thursday before coming to Baltimore.

The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Northern Iowa product has started all but one game he's played in since 2012. He started 10 of 11 games on the Raiders' offensive line last year, which was one of the best units in the league.

Howard and the Ravens have some familiarity with each other, which should help the eight-year veteran get quickly acclimated despite joining the team a week into training camp.

After going undrafted in 2010, Howard first went to the Philadelphia Eagles, then landed on the Ravens practice squad at the start of the 2011 season. He spent nearly three months in Baltimore before the New York Jets signed him off the Ravens practice squad and made him their starting right tackle the following season. Howard started all 16 games the next three years.

While last season was more difficult for Howard, it was reported that he was playing through a shoulder injury suffered in training camp and ankle injuries that plagued him for much of the year. According to CSN Bay Area, Howard had shoulder surgery in January.

Of course, Howard won't be handed the starting job, but the Ravens wouldn't have signed him if they didn't feel he was an upgrade. If Howard becomes the starter, Hurst would be the team's top swing tackle, as he can back up both left and right tackle.

The move dramatically improves the Ravens' offensive line depth. Howard can also play guard if needed, and the Ravens now have three tackles with starting experience so they could withstand an injury at the position.

The Ravens waived tight end Crockett Gillmore (knee) with the injury designation to make room for Howard on the roster. A team could claim Gillmore, or the fourth-year veteran will revert to the Ravens' injured reserve list.

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