The Oakland Raiders have turned the 2017 offseason into a redemption arch, as they bolstered their roster in anticipation of the 2017 NFL season. Although the entire roster remains focused on their Super Bowl aspirations, the front office still needs to manage the roster and do what is best for the organization.
While general manager Reggie McKenzie has been able to secure Jared Cook, Jelani Jenkins and Marshawn Lynch, he also faces the tougher side of the front office duties. The Raiders formally announced on Friday that they have released offensive tackle Austin Howard, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal:
Raiders released RT Austin Howard, source confirmed. Move saves $4.9M in cash. Team signed Marshall Newhouse, drafted two OTs this offseason
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) July 28, 2017
The move does make sense for the roster, as they saved $4.9 million in cash. The news didn’t come as a shock, once the Raiders announced that Marshall Newhouse will replace him at right tackle. However, the ties cut were also a shock to Howard, who spent the past three seasons with the Raiders.
Howard took to Instagram to pen a heartfelt letter to all the Raiders fans, stating how much he truly appreciated his time in Oakland:
OAKLAND!!! A lifetime of memories have been made these past three years, and I am grateful for every single one of them. Unfortunately my time with the #Raiders has come to an end. To my OL dawgs, love y'all boys. #RaiderNation appreciate all your support, you guys are like none other. I came to Oakland my first year with a start of 0-10… through hard work and dedication we built a team that had more success it had in years, and thus we turned this group of players into a play-off bound and elite team. Starting on this Offensive line for the majority of that time is something that I'll never forget. One thing I can say is that no matter the situation, no matter if it was battling through injury, or political scrutiny that this business demands, I left it all out the for my teammates and always had and will always have their back. I will always be proud of that. Thank you to Mr. Davis and the Raiders organization/coaches that allowed me this opportunity. Thank you to my family, especially my parents, siblings, my friends, my agent Kevin Robinson, and last but DEFINITELY not least my beautiful wife Larissa who has been with me since the beginning, and through the thick and thin and has SELFLESSLY been the REAL reason that I've been able to do my job on the field for the passed seven seasons, for all your love, support, encouragement and prayers! To my baby girl, Daddy loves you and couldn't imagine this life without you! Having an opportunity and blessing to share all of this with you has been the biggest gift of all…As upsetting as it is, that "business" gets in the way of a good thing, I know that this is not the end of my NFL journey. Looking forward to what God has planned for me next… #DoubleSevens #NotDone #SomethingBigComingNext #NFL #DontBlink #Challenge #ImUpForIt #MovingForward #TrainsComin #GodIsGood #WatchThis #Oakland #YearEight #SeeYouSoon #UNI #Panthers
The decision to cut Howard came in the midst of his five-year, $30 million deal. The 30-year-old had an underwhelming 2016 campaign, bothered by a shoulder injury and ankle injury sustained in training camp. Those issues plagued his entire season, which eventually led to rotator cuff surgery once the season finished.
Howard made 39 starts for the Raiders since joining the team in 2014, including 10 starts in 11 games last season.