Rumored Cowboys All-Pro Target Takes Big Step Toward Trade

pro bowl 2019

Getty The 2019 Pro Bowl.

Xavien Howard officially wants out.

In spite of reporting to the start of training camp, the All-Pro cornerback went public on Tuesday with his desire to depart the Miami Dolphins, issuing a lengthy, financially-driven trade request via Instagram.

“I’ve given my heart and soul to the Miami Dolphins franchise since they drafted me in 2016 and want to make it clear that I love my teammates. They are my family,” Howard wrote on his social media platform, via Pro Football Talk. “But what I’ve learned is that the business side of the NFL proves organizations don’t always have a player’s best interest at heart. My experience with the Dolphins the past few seasons has taught me that. In 2018 [sic], I signed an extension that I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand or feel comfortable with. I’ve played on that deal for two seasons and didn’t complain, but everyone knows I’ve significantly outperformed that deal. I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I’m given, shadowing the opposition’s best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I’m the second highest-paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.

“I want to clear up a few misconceptions about my situation. My agent, David Canter, and I have never once asked for a completely new contract. We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table — like guaranteeing more money — that we felt were win-wins for both sides. These were proposals of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed. That is why I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t feel valued or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I. That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy and have requested a trade. Until that happens, I am just here, so I don’t get fined and will handle myself like professionals do.”

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Cowboys A Player for Howard?

Because they’re the Cowboys and because they always could use more defensive firepower, the organization has been (loosely) connected to the two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. Earlier this month, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon floated a “hypothetical” trade scenario in which Dallas ships a 2022 first-round draft pick and offensive lineman Connor McGovern to Miami in exchange for Howard.

“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.”

On the local level, Mike Fisher of SI.com does not view the Cowboys as a frontrunner for Howard’s services, pointing to the cost-controlled presence of rookie cornerbacks Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph opposite rising star Trevon Diggs.

“The Dallas Cowboys have convinced themselves — right or wrong — that with young Trevon Diggs at one corner, and with competition featuring Anthony Brown and rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright at the other, they don’t have to spend any more here,” Fisher wrote in June.

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Costly Acquisition

According to NFL Network insider Michael Silver, the Dolphins stand to receive a king’s ransom by trading Howard ahead of the 2021 season — “at least a first-round pick,” likely with additional mid- to late-round choices. Howard also will require a new, perhaps market-resetting contract from his next team, whomever that proves to be.

“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 on July 14. “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.”


READ NEXT: Cowboys Sign Former Jets CB to 2-Year Deal

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL


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