2 Ex-Dolphins Top List of ‘Best Remaining’ NFL Free Agents

Ex-Dolphins' Xavien Howard and Connor Williams ranked as top available free agents.

Getty Former Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard was ranked as the No. 1 free agent that's still on the open market.

The Miami Dolphins have shuffled a large amount of talent in and out in 2024, and two of their free agents still currently top the list of available veteran players.

ESPN staff writer Matt Bowen ranked the “best remaining” free agents on March 19, and he placed cornerback Xavien Howard and center Connor Williams first and second.

“Howard was officially released at the start of the league year by the Dolphins,” Bowen detailed for the former. “He will have interest from multiple teams, too, due to his perimeter coverage traits and on-the-ball production. Howard has 29 interceptions in eight seasons, and he can elevate a contending secondary.”

For Williams, Bowen reasoned: “A torn ACL suffered in December drops Williams here, but he was stellar for the Dolphins with a 93.9% pass block win rate before the injury. He counters his lack of power and anchor with the movement skills to play as a positional blocker. Williams is also very good in space, creating positive angles to cut off defenders.”

Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, safety Justin Simmons and offensive tackle Mekhi Becton rounded out Bowen’s top five remaining free agents.

Ex-Dolphins CB Xavien Howard Would ‘Love’ to Play for Hometown Texans

Howard is from Houston, and he’s been making it known that he’d be open to joining his hometown team in free agency.

During an appearance on “The OGs Podcast” with former Miami Heat players Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, Howard noted that he “would love to” sign with the Houston Texans.

“Especially back at home, the crib,” Howard followed up. “I wouldn’t say I’ve always been a Houston Texans fan, but this offseason, I’m a Houston Texans fan. I’ve had it tatted on me. I even got the Houston Rockets and the Texans [logos] tatted on me.”

The veteran CB even implied that he’d take less money if it meant becoming a Texan.

“I’d rather take a pay cut to go to a team that’s going to go further in the playoffs,” Howard stated. “I got my money and stuff like that. I’m to the point, like, ‘How much money do you really need?’ My goal is always to try to win a Super Bowl. Don’t let the money get in the way of winning a Super Bowl.”

“Some people get paid, and some people win a Super Bowl. Some people do both. You do both, you’re different,” Howard concluded. Adding: “I want to be different. I want to win a Super Bowl now. I already got paid, so now [a Super Bowl] is what I’m looking forward to.”

With the offensive (C.J. Stroud) and defensive (Will Anderson) rookie of the years in 2023, Houston has a strong foundation that they’ve since reinforced with offseason additions like Danielle Hunter and Joe Mixon. They’re considered by many to be a dark horse championship contender next season.

Connor Williams Is Unlikely to Sign Anytime Soon

As for Williams, it appears the free agent blocker is unlikely to sign anytime soon.

His player agent Drew Rosenhaus told Miami television station WSVN that Williams suffered a “pretty significant” tear to his ACL on March 18.

“Without getting into his private business, it was a significant knee injury,” Rosenhaus reiterated with host Josh Moser. “So, he’s taking his time with his rehab. I don’t think his immediate plan is to sign with the Dolphins or any team right now.”

The agent went on, noting that Williams is “focused on his medical situation — getting healthy — and then see where he stands at that point. So, it’s not going to be anytime soon that we see Connor Williams signing with an NFL team.”

As of now, retirement does not seem to be a consideration for the veteran center, but there’s no telling how soon he’ll be ready to return.

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