It’s not a popular opinion and one that many fans don’t share but the Miami Dolphins should at least field calls for a Xavien Howard trade.
Brian Flores continued to reiterate the fact that the Dolphins “LOVE X” during a press conference the morning of the first day of mandatory workouts this past week. He told the media to “write that down”. He also called the situation with Howard, “Unique”, in that he isn’t in a contract year, was just signed two years ago and still has three years left on his deal.
Howard opted to stay away from the training facility and his teammates who worked out this week for the final time this year before entering training camp. Mike Gesicki was there and so was Emmanuel Ogbah who has a contract coming to an end this year as well.
That doesn’t matter to Howard and whether you agree with him staying away or not the Dolphins made him the highest-paid corner in the NFL two years ago coming off an injury and in 2019, Howard missed almost the entire season, injured again. Yet the Dolphins didn’t ask for money back.
Howard has a right to ask for more money because frankly, his value will not be this high in the next three years. Duplicating what he did last year will be incredibly hard and no player has ever hit double-digit INTs in consecutive years. Howard has led the NFL in interceptions twice in his career. In 2018, he finished with 7 which was enough to share the lead with two other players.
Howard’s value is as high as it may ever be. But to be fair, Howard is entering his sixth season in the NFL. His numbers are comparable or better than players like Ed Reed, Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson, and Ronnie Lott over their first five seasons. Their key to getting interception totals that catapulted them into the Hall of Fame was longevity.
Right now, Howard has 22 interceptions which are impressive over a five-year span but the question is, and it’s legitimate, can he stay healthy and avoid missing time?
The Dolphins have a tough decision to make with Howard. Paying him will set a bad precedence that other players who sign new deals could look at as a way to get more money when they overplay their contracts. On the other hand, Howard could become the next consistently “elite” cornerback and play at a reasonably high level for the next five to ten years.
There is a reality though. Miami gave him an extension and they expect him to play under it. They also have to know that at some point, Howard is not going to be on this team. Whether that is because he regresses and they cut him or because he finishes out his contract and leaves or he forces a trade. His long-term future is not likely going to be a Dolphins for life.
Howard is a great player to watch and it would be fantastic to see him in Miami colors the rest of his career but that isn’t going to happen no matter what we wish for. It’s for that reason Miami should answer the phone if someone calls about him. Gauge what the interest is and get a feel for what they might get for him.
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The Dolphins are not going to win the Super Bowl this year and they probably won’t truly compete for one in 2022. The playoffs? Yes, but not the Super Bowl. Not yet, and that is with or without Xavien Howard.
Miami Doesn’t need more draft capital but it never hurts to have it regardless of need. A trade of Howard would not be for the sake of rebuilding the franchise, it would be for the sake of moving a player who doesn’t really want to be here, won’t be here in a few more years anyway, and has more value now in a trade than he probably will in another year or two.
I may be advocating for the Dolphins to trade him but in truth, I’m advocating that they at least explore the options of trading him and there should be no harm in doing exactly that. He isn’t on the field with your team so I don’t think you will hurt his feelings if you say “hello?”