Ravens Tried to Trade for Dolphins All-Pro Cornerback: Report

Xavien Howard

Mark Brown/Getty Images Cornerback Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins takes to the field during Training Camp at Baptist Health Training Complex on July 31, 2021.

The Baltimore Ravens didn’t make any deals in the runup to the November 2 trade deadline, but it wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of general manager Eric DeCosta. According to a report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, DeCosta “was among the most active last week working the phones in an effort to bolster his roster….Taking aim at a handful of positions, DeCosta tried it all,” said Rapoport.

“One of the major deals (the Ravens) discussed” is a trade for Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, 28, a two-time Pro Bowler who earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2020, as per Pro Football Reference. Howard is just one of a handful of big-name cornerbacks that were linked to the Ravens during the month of October, including Patrick Peterson.

But DeCosta couldn’t swing a deal for Howard for two reasons, according to Rapoport. “For one, Miami wanted premium picks for a player of Howard’s caliber, likely a first-rounder and more,” he wrote.

The other reason is money. The Ravens have precious little in the way of cap space (currently $1,540,673, per overthecap.com), so Miami would have needed to retain most of what remains of Howard’s $12 million-plus salary. Never mind the fact that Howard’s contract runs through 2024, with salaries of $11.4 million or more (and cap hits of $12.935 million or more) in each of the next three years. That’s money that could be spent extending the contracts of younger, homegrown talent.

There’s also the matter of Howard’s production not reaching the heights it did last year, with 23 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed in seven games. This as compared to the 51 tackles, 10 interceptions and 20 passes defensed he had in 2020. For what it’s worth, there’s an even larger disparity in his Pro Football Focus grades. In 2020 he produced an 87.3 overall grade and an 89.6 coverage grade. Thus far this year he has a 59.4 overall grade and a 56.2 coverage grade, which ranks him No. 75 in the league amongst all cornerbacks.

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The Ravens Have 4 Cornerbacks on Injured Reserve

The Ravens come off their bye and begin their playoff push without the services of the four cornerbacks they have on injured reserve, a list headlined by Marcus Peters, who went down with a season-ending torn ACL during practice on September 9, 2021.

Iman Marshall (torn ACL) and Khalil Dorsey have also been on the Reserve/Injured list since getting hurt in mid-August. As for Chris Westry, he suffered a torn meniscus during the season-opener at Las Vegas and has yet to return.

Anthony Averett vs. Justin Jefferson & Adam Theilen

Meanwhile, Ravens cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett will both be under pressure against the Vikings on Sunday, as Minnesota features two preeminent wide receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Theilen. Coming into the game, Jefferson has 43 receptions for 463 yards and three touchdown catches. Theilen has 43 catches for 471 yards and six touchdown receptions.

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