Earlier this offseason, it seemed apparent that the Miami Dolphins were going to have to trade Xavien Howard. Howard requested a trade in July due to him no longer being the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL despite his performance in recent seasons.
While Miami showed no interest in reworking his deal before, they suddenly were able to come to terms on a restructured contract that pleased both sides. Brian Flores made it clear that the Dolphins don’t want to trade Howard and his new restructured deal makes it less likely he gets dealt now.
That being said, I guess you can never say never in sports as players are always traded after an organization gives them a vote of confidence. There are always cornerback-needy teams that could use a caliber of cornerback like Howard to improve their defense.
Even though it’s improbable to happen now with his new contract, here are three teams who should still pursue a trade for Howard.
For the past few years, the Dallas Cowboys have been searching for some answers at the cornerback position. Dallas has been unable to put together a secondary that instills confidence in their defense. Entering the 2021 season, the Cowboys have Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown set to start at cornerback. Also, rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright could be in line to see playing time this season.
Given the lack of reliability Dallas has at the cornerback position, trading for Howard would be ideal for them. Howard has 22 interceptions since he entered the NFL in 2016, which is the second-most in that time span, only behind Marcus Peters. Getting a playmaker like Howard from the Dolphins would definitely give the Cowboys an upgrade in their lackadaisical secondary.
In the days leading up to the 2021 season, the Arizona Cardinals are now expected to not have veteran Malcolm Butler available at cornerback. Butler is experiencing a personal situation that may cause him to retire, per multiple reports. After losing Patrick Peterson in free agency, the Cardinals are now faced with starting Byron Murphy and Robert Alford, who is currently on the COVID-19/reserve list.
Upon Butler’s updated status with the team, Arizona should now be in the market for a cornerback. Maybe the Cardinals can swing a trade with the Dolphins that includes a swap for Chandler Jones and draft picks. Jones also requested a trade this offseason, but unlike Xavien Howard, Arizona hasn’t shown any signs of renegotiating a contract with the All-Pro edge rusher.
Las Vegas Raiders
Trading for an expensive player just seems like something that the Las Vegas Raiders would do. There were reports that the Raiders attempted to make a trade to get Khalil Mack back from the Chicago Bears, only for Chicago to likely scoff at their offer. For Las Vegas, while their pass rush could use some work, they could also use some aid in the secondary.
Outside of Casey Hayward, the Raiders don’t have another cornerback they can confidently rely on in the defense. Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette have shown flashes of potential while Nevin Lawson is a decent, not great nickel cornerback. Adding Xavien Howard in a trade with the Dolphins would give them a massive boost in the secondary and help the pass rush at the same time.