We’ve already seen plenty of great deals this offseason, including NFL stars like Julio Jones and Matthew Stafford. The rumor never sleeps, as another elite athlete is reportedly unhappy in his current situation. With this in mind, will Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard force a trade this offseason? If so, what are some potential trading scenarios and destinations for Howard?
Are the dolphins actively trying to trade Xavien Howard?
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler detailed Howard’s frustration over his contract“Miami does not want to treat him, but it’s the worst kept secret in the league that Howard is not happy with his contract.”
Currently, Howard owes $ 2 million less than teammate Byron Jones, whose deal is worth $ 14 million in guarantees in 2021. However, Howard’s $ 12 million is of the non-guaranteed variety. That is far from what he is worth getting out of a 10-wicket campaign for Defensive Player of the Year caliber.
Sources tell PFN that even though there is only a small chance that Miami is dealing with Howard, things could get uncomfortable for Miami if Howard’s agent starts pushing the issue. It will be very telling if Howard does not come next week mandatory minicamp.
Miami has one out in his contract after this season, but Howard wants an adjusted contract this summer. If the dolphins are not willing, it would not be surprising for Howard to demand a trade and force their hand. There were rumors that the Cowboys were interested in the star corner earlier this offseason, but after selecting three cornerbacks in 2021 NFL Draft, they are now an unlikely destination.
Possible trading scenarios and destinations for Xavien Howard
If Miami deals with Howard, who are some teams that are or should be interested?
A trade for Howard would likely compete with the value the Dolphins received from the Houston Texans in return for OT Laremy Tunsil in 2019. As such, it would take a desperate team with a big hole at the cornerback for a trade to be completed. Insert Arizona Cardinals.
Edge rusher Chandler Jones enters a contract year. Would the Dolphins entertain a Jones for Howard deal? Arizona will probably have to include some drafts, but with JJ Watt, Zaven Collinsand Isaiah Simmons strengthens their front seven, they can focus on modernizing a bad secondary.
As for Miami, head coach Brian Flores and Jones were together in New England when Flores was the assistant. Not only would Flores optimize Jones’ use, but the Dolphins need an elite pass rusher versus rookie Jaelan Phillips.
New England Patriots
If Miami treated Howard, they would probably have him out of the AFC, let alone the division. Would Stephon Gilmore and draft capital still be enough to swing their thought process?
Like Jones, Gilmore is entering the final year of his current contract and the Patriots are unlikely to sign him again. Losing one All-Pro corner for another is not bad at all. Yes, Gilmore is three years older and is going on the wrong side of 30, but Howard, who is forcing the Dolphins’ hand, is reducing their leverage in trade negotiations, so this is far from a worst case scenario.
The Falcons just collected the second and fourth round picks from the Titans in switch to Julio Jones. Thus, they have the draft capital to make a trade happen.
They are desperate, have a need for the position and own the necessary items. So why is this scenario unlikely?
At present, Atlanta does not have the capacity to offer Howard the contract he wants and deserves. Still, we’ve seen how teams can manipulate the salary cap and move players to create space.
GM Chris Grier loves himself some drafts and his recent track record shows he knows how to use them.
New Orleans Saints
According to Over the hood, the Saints do not own over $ 8 million in capacity by 2023. And even though they have been the best at working with the cap, the magic will eventually end sooner rather than later. Either way, Marshon Lattimore needs a driver in the cornerback space, especially if New Orleans wants to compete with a combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill under center.
In the last trade scenario on the list, we have the Minnesota Vikings. Outside of second-year CB Cameron Dantzler and aging Patrick Peterson, the Vikings’ cornerback space is not much better than last season.
Making a splash for Howard is exactly what the doctor ordered. Mike Zimmer is one of the best defensive minds in football and will no doubt enjoy having Howard roaming in his secondary.
After opting out in 2020, Danielle Hunter will earn roughly the same amount as Howard in 2021. Looking for a new deal, both players would have their chance to prove their worth in fresh environments built for them to succeed.