Multiple league insiders have framed the Dallas Cowboys as a landing spot — either then or now — for disgruntled Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, who’s pushing to be traded ahead of the 2021 season.
The MMQB’s Albert Breer reported on the heels of Howard’s lengthy trade request that Dallas ‘had been one team interested’ in the All-Pro cover man, with discussions apparently taking place prior to April’s NFL draft.
“Howard’s name was one that came up in trade talks before the draft—Dallas had been one team interested,” Breer tweeted Tuesday. “Didn’t get there then. And the combination of Howard needing a new deal and lack of cap space league-wide might make it tough for Miami to get a big return now. Stay tuned.”
On Thursday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler peeled back the curtain on the rumor persisting within “league circles” — that the Cowboys “looked into” Howard’s acquisition in recent months.
“Rumors persisted in league circles that Dallas looked into a Howard deal at some point this offseason, but aside from that … this is a Dallas move. All splash, and it solves a big need. The Cowboys’ pass rush needs more production, and what better way to help than with a true shutdown corner to buy rushers time?” Fowler wrote.
“Dallas doesn’t have a ton of cash — $5.4 million in cap space as of this week — but a little roster maneuvering could solve that in a hurry. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would gladly welcome Howard’s ball disruption. He hasn’t had a corner that good since Richard Sherman.”
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‘Hypothetical’ Trade Package for Howard
Earlier this month, speculation in full swing, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon proposed a “hypothetical” trade scenario in which Dallas ships a 2022 first-round draft selection and offensive lineman Connor McGovern to Miami in exchange for Howard, arguably the game’s best CB with 55 pass deflections and 22 interceptions across 56 career games, including an NFL-high 10 picks last 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.”
Howard, 28, signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Dolphins in 2019 but reportedly wants to leapfrog teammate (for now) Byron Jones, the ex-Cowboys CB1 taking home $16.5 million per year.
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