Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon bandied a “hypothetical” deal in which Dallas packages a 2022 first-round draft pick and offensive lineman Connor McGovern for Howard, who may force his way out of Miami due to reported contract displeasure.
“Considering that Miami is already paying more than $16 million a year to Byron Jones at that position, the team could eventually decide to cave and trade the ball-hawking corner this summer,” Gagnon speculated.
“If so, an inter-conference deal with the Dallas Cowboys makes sense. 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. 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.”
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Background on Howard & Potential Fit
A 2016 second-round pick from Baylor, Howard has compiled 148 solo tackles, 55 passes defended and 22 interceptions across 55 career starts to this point. 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 but purportedly desires a restructure; currently pocketing $15.05 million annually, he no doubts wants to leapfrog teammate Byron Jones, the ex-Cowboy taking home $16.5 million per year.
Dallas theoretically can surrender the aforementioned capital to acquire Howard — it’s one premium draft pick and McGovern is slated for backup duties — but, sitting just $5.44 million under the salary cap, the team realistically cannot afford his services, however tempting.
If (and it’s a massive if) the Cowboys manage to pull off this trade, Howard obviously would slide into a starting role opposite Trevon Diggs and second-round rookie Kelvin Joseph, flipping a 2020 weakness into a 2021 strength.
“This would be the ultimate gamble that they’re just a dynamic defensive player away,” Gagnon wrote. “Losing a first-round pick and offensive line depth would hurt, but Howard just became the first player in more than a decade to intercept 10 passes in a single season. If he keeps that going the next couple of years, it could put the Cowboys over the top.”
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Rumor Points to Cowboys Trade for Ravens G
It would “make sense” for the Cowboys to acquire offensive guard Ben Powers from the Baltimore Ravens, shoring up a “major liability — the interior offensive line — ahead of the 2021 NFL season, John Owning of the Dallas Morning News recently posited.
“While Powers isn’t likely to start in Dallas either, a starting spot could be opening up soon, as left guard Connor Williams is scheduled to become a free agent after this season,” Owning wrote. “If Williams does leave, then Powers would likely compete with McGovern for the starting LG gig in 2022, which should be an easier competition to win than the one he’s currently in with the Ravens.
“It’s not a flashy move, but trading a late-round pick for Ben Powers would certainly be a savvy one.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL