The Raiders have released Austin Howard, one of their big free-agent signings from the 2014 offseason. The offensive lineman was informed of his released early Friday, according to a league source.
The player confirmed the separation on social media late Thursday night with this post:
OAKLAND!!! A lifetime of memories have been made these past three years, and I am grateful for… https://t.co/1AqbM3WaRU
- Austin Howard (@AustinHoward68) July 28, 2017
Howard was scheduled to make $4.9 million in base salary this season, with $2.4 million in dead money against the salary cap. The Raiders can afford the cap hit, but will enjoy the slowing salary cash flow in 2017.
Howard was one of the team's biggest signings in 2014, inking a five-year, $30 million contract with the Raiders early in the 2014 unrestricted free agent signing period. Howard played right guard in his first season, but moved to tackle in the following two years. He made 39 starts in three seasons in silver and black, most at right tackle.
Howard played 2016 under duress. He worked through an ankle issue that season and had offseason shoulder surgery that impacted him throughout the Raiders offseason program.
He regained health this summer, but the Raiders chose to part ways with the veteran and focus on other options at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse has pole position in the position battle, but Vadal Alexander will challenge him for a starting spot. Rookie forth-round pick David Sharpe also has interest there.
That left Howard with a too-high salary entering a tight position battle, making him expendable when compared with other players along a stacked offensive line.
The Raiders will have two spots available on their 90-man roster, with Howard and running back Taiwan Jones being released.
Here is Howard's full Instagram post:
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
A post shared by Austin Howard (@realaustinhoward77) on Jul 28, 2017 at 12:38am PDT