Will the Dolphins trade the star cornerback?
Xavien Howard wants to become one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, and deservedly so. Howard’s current contract isn’t even the most lucrative in Miami’s cornerback room — that title belongs to Byron Jones. As a result, the two sides have battled over contract talks, and it seems the situation has reached its boiling point. On July 27, Howard formally requested a trade from the Dolphins, likely meaning he will have a new home for the 2021 season and beyond. So, which franchises make the best landing spots for the star corner?
Xavien Howard has requested a trade out of Miami
Despite reporting to training camp, the 28-year-old corner has not wavered on his stance. He is coming off a 10-interception campaign in which he also recorded 20 pass deflections, both of which led the NFL. Still in his athletic prime, Howard is one of the best ballhawks across the league. Some may point to Brian Flores’ system benefitting the corner this year, as well as the addition of Jones. While both may be true, Howard generated 7 interceptions and 12 pass deflections in 2018.
Currently, five teams could fit Howard’s contract under their cap without having to trade any players — Jaguars, Broncos, Panthers, Jets, and the Chargers. However, none of these teams are likely landing sports for the elite CB.
Potential landing spots for Xavien Howard
Although every team would want a lock-down corner like Howard on their roster, which teams make the best landing spots?
There is no denying the sheer lack of talent in Arizona’s defensive backfield. Outside of Budda Baker, an aging Malcolm Butler, second-year pro Byron Murphy, and rookie Tay Gowan, there is much to be desired. Thus, the Cardinals need a true No. 1 corner, which Howard would provide and then some. Chandler Jones is similarly unhappy with his current contract, and the two teams may opt to swap their star defenders — with some extra capital from the Cardinals.
Although the Cowboys are strapped for cash, owner Jerry Jones would move mountains in an effort to secure Howard’s services. Jerry wants to win now, and with a loaded offense, bolstering his secondary may be the best option to boost Dallas’ Super Bowl odds.
The Texans are reportedly willing to shop Deshaun Watson, pending his current off-field issues. However, they want what he is worth on the field, which is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. So, it would take a sizeable deal for Houston to part ways with their signal-caller, which Miami can offer. Along with draft capital, the Dolphins could send Howard to the Texans in exchange for the QB.
New Orleans Saints
There have been rumors the Saints would be in the Howard sweepstakes if the Dolphins were willing to trade him. New Orleans can use their now-famous cap-space wizardry to lower Howard’s Year 1 salary, which would currently put them over the cap, and still offer him the raise he deserves. Marshon Lattimore may be out of New Orleans as he is on an expiring contract, but he and Howard would instantly form the best cornerback duo in the NFL for 2021.
Lastly, we have a team that is no stranger to making blockbuster deals with the Dolphins. These two franchises made a big splash in the 2021 NFL Draft when Miami traded up with Philadelphia from the 12th overall pick to sixth. Additionally, in 2016, the Eagles traded Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, and the 16th pick in the draft for the No. 8 overall selection.
Philly needs help in their secondary like they need brotherly love. Howie Roseman is one of the most aggressive general managers in the NFL, so another big-time trade cannot be written off.
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