Could the Bengals consider pursuing trade for Xavien Howard?

Xavien Howard, Bengals
NFL Analysis Network

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the bigger surprises thus far in the 2021 NFL season. They currently have a record of 5-2 and sit atop the AFC North after blowing the Baltimore Ravens out in Week 7, 41-17. Making a move for a cornerback like Xavien Howard ahead of the NFL trade deadline could be the missing piece to Super Bowl contention.

It was a statement win for the Bengals, who are now 2-0 in the division with road victories over the aforementioned Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They are clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball.

Joe Burrow has returned from his ACL injury even better than before. He and Ja’Marr Chase are one of the most prolific duos in the NFL, as Chase is on pace to break numerous rookie and team records. Behind him, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins provide two more strong options to throw the ball to.

Joe Mixon is leading what is a good running game, averaging 106.9 yards per game. They are able to keep defenses honest and unable to key in on Burrow in the passing game.

The improvement of the offensive line has made a lot of this possible. Not to be outdone, their defensive line is also playing well, getting after the cornerback. Trey Hendrickson has proven to be an excellent signing, pacing the team with 6.5 sacks.

As a surprise success this season, the Bengals should be looking to buy at the NFL trade deadline. CBS Sports believes that cornerback Xavien Howard could be a target.

Howard and the Miami Dolphins had an ugly contract dispute during the offseason, but instead of trading him, they reworked his contract. Now, the team has a record of 1-6 and they are going nowhere fast.

They could look to cash in on the supremely talented Howard, who is an excellent playmaker. He led the NFL in interceptions and passes defended in 2020 as he is always around the ball. 

Adding a player like him to the secondary would help cement the Bengals as legitimate playoff contenders. If they want to make noise in the postseason, they will have to be able to slow down the prolific passing offenses they will be going up again. Howard, as one of the premier cornerbacks in the league, would help them accomplish that.