Transactions: O.J. Howard signs rookie deal with Bucs

By Nick Shook
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There’s no better way to start a week than by signing your first NFL contract.

A pair of rookies began Monday by completing their most important signatures to date, with 19th-overall pick O.J. Howard signing his deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Howard was a standout tight end at Alabama, but depending on his performance in the NFL, could go down as one of the more underutilized talents in recent college football history. The reason: Howard displays all of the skills to be a star in the professional game, despite only catching 45 passes for 595 yards and three touchdowns during his final season with the Crimson Tide. It’s expected that he’ll have a larger role and greater impact in Tampa Bay, where he should immediately contribute to a receiving corps that also includes Mike Evans and recent addition DeSean Jackson.

Other contract-related news we’re tracking on Monday:

1. Quarterback Josh Dobbs signed his rookie deal with the Steelers, the team announced.

2. Free-agent linebacker Gerald Hodges is visiting with the Bills on Monday and Giants on Tuesday, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Also visiting with teams is free agent defensive end Devin Taylor, who is meeting with the Giants on Monday and Jaguars on Tuesday, per Rapoport.

3. The Jaguars have signed cornerbacks Tyler Patmon and Brian Dixon, and waived/injured wide receiver Bryan Walters the team announced.

4. The Jets waived/injured former second-round pick Devin Smith on Monday. If the wideout clears waivers, he would revert to injured reserve.

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