Two years ago, the New York Jets couldn't get rid of their right tackle fast enough.
That's not the case right now.
According to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, the Jets have begun contract negotiations with Austin Howard, who is slated for free agency in March if he isn't re-signed in the coming weeks.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old Howard took over for the much-maligned Wayne Hunter at the start of the 2012 season and has improved steadily since. No right tackle with more than nine starts last season gave up fewer sacks (2) than Howard, according to Pro Football Focus.
And over the right side of the line, Gang Green rushed for 34 first downs and tallied 16 rushes of 10 yards or more.
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York expects Howard to be in line for a contract similar to that of New England Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer -- close to $17 million over four years. He remains arguably the team's top in-house free agent priority.
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