They may not be using the “franchise” tag as I considered recently, but the Jets do want Austin Howard back, and they have begun to work at making that a reality.
According to a report from Manish Mehta, the Jets have opened up talks with Howard’s agent about bringing back the starting right tackle with a new contract. Austin was a huge upgrade over our “old friend” Wayne Hunter, when he took over in 2012. He immediately was a near-elite level run blocker, and his pass blocking has improved mightily over the last two seasons.
This would be huge to ink Austin Howard to a new deal. I talked previously about considering him for the franchise tag. This is not completely necessary, but bringing him back is important. We have talked chapter and verse about continuity on the offensive line. The more they can stay together, the better they will get.
Rich Cimini thinks it will take around four years and $17 million to keep Austin in the green and white. I say do whatever it takes.