Dolphins Fuel Xavien Howard Rumors, Steal Eagles CB

Cre'Von LeBlanc

Getty Cre'Von LeBlanc spent three productive seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles mostly as a nickel cornerback.

The writing has been on the wall for Cre’Von LeBlanc dating back to last year’s training camp. The Philadelphia Eagles cut the talented nickel cornerback, then re-signed him once he cleared waivers. Now LeBlanc is gone for good after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

LeBlanc, a Philly fan favorite known as Strap, confirmed the move on Instagram by sharing a heartfelt thank you to the Eagles’ organization. The Dolphins announced the signing on Twitter, too. The 26-year-old spent three productive seasons in midnight green and picked off Drew Brees in the 2018 playoffs.

He leaves town with 30 total tackles and five passes defensed in 21 games (six starts). More importantly, LeBlanc endeared himself to the fan base as a reliable slot corner and sometimes fill-in outside starter. He first joined the Eagles in 2018 as a waiver claim after going undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2016.

LeBlanc wrote the following message on Instagram: “I want to Thank the entire @philadelphiaeagles organization for taking a chance on me back in 2018 giving me a opportunity to prove and showcase what I could do on the field it was definitely fun while it lasted. I’m Definitely going to miss the fans for all the love and support they giving me through the years, I met some great people and build some great relationships that I would never forget… With that being said I will be taking my talents to South Beach!!!”

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LeBlanc Signing Fuels Xavien Howard Rumors

The fact the Dolphins added another cornerback to the mix fueled rumors that the team is looking to trade Xavien Howard. The Pro Bowl cornerback is unhappy with his current contract after teammate Byron Jones got more money last year in free agency. Howard is the better player and Pro Football Focus ranked him the fourth-best cornerback in the NFL, citing that 18.7% of his targets in coverage have resulted in a pass breakup or interception since 2016.

Howard had been loosely tied to the Eagles considering their glaring need for another outside corner to pair with Darius Slay. In fact, Slay had even slapped on his recruiting hat to sing Howard’s praises on Twitter. Howard has twice led the league in interceptions (2018, 2020) and has racked up 22 picks in five seasons for the Dolphins.

Keeping Zach Ertz Costs $8.5 Million

The prevailing theory around the league was the Eagles were going to either trade or release Zach Ertz prior to training camp. That move would save them $8.5 million in salary-cap space, presumably to use on a shutdown cornerback. Free-agent Steven Nelson was one name being monitored to use that extra money on. And so was Howard in a trade scenario.

However, two new reports indicate that Ertz intends to return to the team and possibly play out the final year of his contract. It may not be all “sunshine and roses” (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo) but the three-time Pro Bowler appears to be staying on the roster. For now.

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