I have been vocal that I would not trade cornerback Xavien Howard if I were the Miami Dolphins.
Howard is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and bad cornerback play can derail your entire season.
Things have clearly not gone well between Howard and Miami, as NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported that “There’s a lot of trade chatter concerning Dolphins All-Pro CB Xavien Howard, who led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2020 & is unhappy with his contract…”
This has sparked a lot of trade speculation, and I even had some fun and wrote about two franchise-altering trade packages with Howard for the Dolphins.
I still have stayed strong with the idea that Miami should figure things out with Howard, but according to Reason from Phinside the NFL, Miami hasn’t “even come to the table with Howard to discuss the parameters of a new deal or more guaranteed money.” Reason also added, “The belief is X will show up to camp and if this situation isn’t worked out, relationships will be “severed.”
I think a big misconception in this situation is that Miami holds all the leverage. While it makes sense to say, when you actually dig into this issue, I am not so sure that is the case. Miami holds the leverage over Howard, but do they truly have the leverage of the entire situation?
I would say no.
If Miami plans to have Howard hold out and lose tons of money, Miami fans may think Miami is winning, but they are beating Howard, and they are beating themselves. What good does Howard holding out do for Miami? If he does not want to play for the Dolphins, having him not show up just to save a little money is not a win for Miami.
They will still be without their best player, and instead of getting some value for not having Howard, they get nothing.
If Reason’s report is accurate, which I believe it is, if Howard shows up and isn’t happy, Miami loses again. Having your best player not giving it his all is a real issue, and again, Miami is the one losing value.
Also, what happens if Howard says his knee hurts on Day 1? It is well-known Howard has knee issues, so what if those knee issues become relevant for Howard and he doesn’t play because of an injury?
Now, I am not suggesting Howard would do this to Miami. I am simply laying out all the cards on the table. This is the NFL and look no further than the Jalen Ramsey and Jacksonville Jaguars situation. Ramsey had a back injury and couldn’t practice, but he practiced right away in Los Angeles once he was traded.
What I am getting at here is that the only situation where Miami wins is if Howard shows up, is happy, and plays hard. However, it doesn’t look like that will happen, so Miami needs to be proactive here, in my opinion.
Miami should trade Xavien Howard ASAP.
That is why I am changing my stance on what Miami should do with Howard, and I believe they should trade Howard and trade him as soon as possible.
It is clear this relationship will never be fixed, so the longer Miami has him on their roster, the longer they are hurting themselves. Miami should take the best deal that is offered to them and get away from this potential season-long headache.
Yes, Howard is their best cornerback, but I see so many Dolphins fans talking about building through the draft and never getting rid of draft picks. Well, one of those draft picks was 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene. He may not have had a great rookie season, but if fans believe in building through the draft, they need to believe in moving on from Howard and letting Igbinoghene start as the No. 2 cornerback.
I truly believe that Igbinoghene will make a huge jump in Year 2, and he has sky-high potential.
Miami also has cornerback Byron Jones, who is one of the better corners in the NFL as well. If Igbinoghene can progress and slide into the No. 2 cornerback spot, Miami will get a player, a pick, or both back for Howard.
In my opinion, getting that value back would be a steal, mainly because, again, Miami does not have as much leverage as people think. Having Howard sitting at home or playing unhappy doesn’t make sense for Miami. If they have a chance to move on from him and get great value back, it is a no-brainer at this point.
It is clear that this situation isn’t going to get any better, so Miami should trade Howard before things get uglier.