Lions Deemed Landing Spot for 4-Time Dolphins Pro-Bowl Selection

Miami Dolphins, Xavien Howard, Detroit Lions

Getty Xavien Howard after an interception.

The Miami Dolphins’ defense will look different without Xavien Howard intercepting passes. Arguably the best cornerback in Dolphins history, Howard will be remembered as a fan favorite and someone who changed the culture for the Dolphins. Hitting the market at 30-year-old, the four-time Pro-Bowl selection is viewed as a fit with the Detroit Lions, according to Bleacher Report.

“The cornerback position was already something of a weak spot for the Detroit Lions, and the recent release of Cameron Sutton following domestic battery charges in Florida just makes the need all the more pressing,” Gary Davenport wrote in a March 24 story on the best fits for the top unsigned free agents.

Davenport wrote that Howard would also fit with the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.

Howard, the longest-tenured player on the Dolphins, had a $25.9 million cap hit in 2024. The Dolphins cutting him after June 1 would save them $18.5 million in 2024.

How Howard Would Help the Lions

While the Detroit Lions finished 12-5 and almost made the Super Bowl, their pass defense was one of the worst in football.

They allowed 257 passing yards per game, the second most in the NFL. The Lions also allowed the third most yards per pass attempt with 7.4 per attempt.

In the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Howard has struggled more than usual. He earned a 55.1 grade in 2023 and a 58.4 grade in 2022 from PFF, ranking about average in his position.

Howard posted a 70.9 grade in 2021 and an 87.3 grade in 2020, proving to arguably be the best cornerback at the time.

During the 2020 season, Howard led the league in interceptions with 10, two seasons after posting a seven-interception season in 2018. Howard’s a ballhawk and despite having just two interceptions over the last two seasons, could revive that part of his career in the Lions system.

For the Lions or any other team that signs Howard, the hope is for him to make plays similar to how he did with the Dolphins. He’s at his best when he’s intercepting passes and making plays for the defense.

Howard Changed His views on his Next Contract

When asked if he’d be willing to take a pay cut, Howard told reporters that he loved his time with the Miami Dolphins and asked if they’d be willing to take a pay cut. His response signaled an unwillingness to take a pay cut.

Fast forward to an appearance on “The OGs Podcast” with Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller in March, Howard said he’d rather take a pay cut to go to a winning team.

“I’d rather take a pay cut to go to a team that’s going to go further in the playoffs,” Howard said. “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. 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.”

Howard indicates his want to join a team that’s going to go further in the playoffs, something the Dolphins haven’t done during his time with the team.

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