The New York Jets may not be done making big-time moves ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
Gang Green is in the thick of training camp following a string of successful practices this week.
Although one thing has been apparent throughout the offseason process, the Jets lack a true bonafide No. 1 corner. There’s a chance that could change sooner rather than later.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Trade Demands Rock the NFL World
All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard demanded a trade via a statement released on his Instagram page on Tuesday, July 27.
The veteran explained why he showed up to training camp for his current team, the Miami Dolphins, and reiterated his stance that he wants a trade.
Howard received a five-year contract extension back in 2019 worth over $75M that paid just over $15M per season.
Since that point, the 28-year old cornerback has absolutely balled out registering 11 interceptions during that span, including 10 of those last season.
With that level of production, he has clearly outplayed his contract and wants a raise. The Dolphins have been hesitant to budge and that’s where things have gotten awkward.
Miami is in win-now mode coming off of an impressive 10 win campaign. Yet they face a quandary, do they re-do Howard’s contract that still has four years left on it?
That could set a bad precedent for the future and that’s why the Dolphins have resisted the urge thus far.
Jets Selected as ‘Team Fit’ for Howard’s Services
With Howard likely to be dealt, NFL experts from around the league have begun to pontificate and speculate where he could possibly land.
Most Jets fans and analysts understandably haven’t paid this story much attention, you know since Gang Green and the Phins reside in the same division and all?
Despite that fun fact, the Jets were recently listed as a top-five destination according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN:
“Yeah, trading inside the AFC East might be a nonstarter, but how many teams are better equipped to make a deal happen than the Jets? They’ve stockpiled draft picks and still have $22.1 million in cap space. They need the corner help. New coach Robert Saleh wants an attacking defense that won’t be afraid to mix it up, and Howard’s man coverage ability could be tempting. The Jets have four picks in the top two rounds of the 2022 draft and are probably sick of playing against Howard, who has three career interceptions against them.”
In his column, Fowler listed the top five NFL teams that would be the best fits for the talented corner and the Jets made the cut.
Part of his argument is undeniable, the Jets are “better equipped” than just about any NFL team to pull off a move of this caliber.
They have ample cap space to swallow a big contract and still enough room after that to adjust whatever is necessary to appease Howard and his camp.
The Dolphins would want to be compensated for this deal and Howards’ market value is somewhat all over the place.
In the Fowler report, some executives have suggested a “high-Day 2 pick or package of Day 2 and 3 picks” would get the job done. While another executive said that the versatile corner “might be worth a first-rounder.”
Regardless of which package is really true, the Jets have the assets to deliver with a pair of first-rounders in 2022 (their own and Seattle’s) and a pair of second-rounders (their own and Carolina’s).
On top of that, the fit is obvious. The Jets lack star power and a true No. 1 cornerback that can follow an opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver. Howard would step in from day one and remind fans of the old days with Darrelle Revis.
On paper, this checks every single box:
- Team need
- Compensation to Miami
- Cap space to absorb contract and enough room to adjust incoming Howard deal
Despite all that, this potential deal seems extremely unlikely. While divisional trades do occasionally happen in the NFL, this just doesn’t make any sense from the Dolphins’ perspective.
There are several teams that have already called and are in the mix. If Miami didn’t have teams to choose from, maybe you could find a way to envision this coming to fruition, but that isn’t the world we are living in.
It would be really cool for the Jets to make a splash of this magnitude to add some sizzle to the cornerback room, but head coach Robert Saleh has “blind loyalty” to his guys.
While that may not be sexy to the fans, it is what Saleh believes in. He’s going to give his young corners a chance to prove themselves and see where that takes them.