That is, per NFL Network’s Michael Silver, surrendering “at least a first-round pick” on top of cutting a likely market-resetting contract — compensation begetting a blockbuster deal for one of the league’s premier talents.
“There’s a lot of trade chatter concerning Dolphins All-Pro CB Xavien Howard, who led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2020 & is unhappy with his contract,” Silver reported Wednesday. “Howard, who signed a five-year, $75.25-million extension two years ago, wants a new, improved deal in the wake of his stellar 2020 season. He’s not likely to get it from Miami. It would likely take at least a first-round pick (plus the willingness to pay up) to land him. There are several teams, all in win-now mode, pondering such a move. If no one steps up to meet Miami’s price, Howard (who skipped the offseason program) could try to force the issue by holding out of training camp. He could be fined $50,000 a day in that scenario. Stay tuned.”
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Howard Skipped Offseason Program Over Contract
A 2016 second-round pick, Howard has blossomed into the sport’s top playmaking corner, posting 55 passes defended and 22 interceptions across 55 career starts. The two-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in INTs in 2018 (7) and 2020 (10), and in pass breakups (20) in 2020, earning first-team All-Pro honors.
Howard, 28, signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Dolphins in 2019. He’s currently the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid CB behind Los Angeles’ Jalen Ramsey, Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey, Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White, Philadelphia’s Darius Slay, and Dolphins teammate Byron Jones.
The source of disgruntlement reportedly stems from Howard earning less on an annual basis ($15.05 million) than Jones ($16.5 million), the former Cowboys star. His next contract — no matter which team hands it over — surely will remedy that.
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Dallas Linked to Howard
Nobody will confuse the 2021 Cowboys secondary with the famed “Legion of Boom,” but it’s a more-than-adequate group featuring ascending stud Trevon Diggs, prized rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, and dependable veterans Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown.
Though, not adequate enough for Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon, who spun together a “hypothetical” trade proposal in which Dallas ships its 2022 first-round draft selection and offensive lineman Connor McGovern to Miami in exchange for Howard ahead of the regular season.
“Dallas is hurting at the cornerback position after losing Jones to Miami in free agency last offseason and then seeing Chidobe Awuzie jump to the Cincinnati Bengals this year,” Gagnon wrote. “That D already ranked in the bottom 10 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders last year, and they might need to do something bold to support an offense that is ready to win now with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and a top-notch but aging offensive line.
“Howard’s contract wouldn’t be easy to move, but Miami could save more than $12 million this year by dealing him, and Dallas could theoretically keep immediate costs low by extending his deal right off the bat.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL