Eagles land star cornerback Xavien Howard in latest Bleacher Report mock trade
Trade rumors have been swirling around Dolphins standout CB Xavien Howard for some time now. Howard signed a 5-year, $75M extension back in May of 2019 and is now looking for a raise after leading the league in interceptions (10) and passes defended (20) last season. In addition, he’s the first player to have double-digit INTs in a regular season since Antonio Cromartie had 10 in 2007.
Howard’s contract request is justified — he’s currently the 6th-highest paid CB in the league in terms of AAV behind teammate Byron Jones:
- Jalen Ramsey, Rams: $20M
- Marlon Humphrey, Ravens: $19.5M
- Tre’Davious White, Bills: $17.25M
- Darius Slay, Eagles: $16.68M
- Byron Jones, Dolphins: $16.5M
- Xavien Howard, Dolphins: $15.05M
Howard skipped the team’s mandatory offseason program and appears to be headed towards a holdout if Miami doesn’t grant his wishes. Considering the Dolphins handed an even bigger contract to Byron Jones last offseason, a new deal for Howard isn’t going to come from them.
So let the trade speculation commence. Per Mike Silver, trade packages would likely begin with a first-round pick:
2) Howard, who signed a five-year, $75.25-million extension two years ago, wants a new, improved deal in the wake of his stellar 2020 season. He’s not likely to get it from Miami. It would likely take at least a first-round pick (plus the willingness to pay up) to land him…— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) July 14, 2021
Luckily, there’s a team in Philadelphia who could have quite a few first-round selections next season if Carson Wentz plays well. According to Bleacher Report, however, the Eagles may not even need to part ways with a first-rounder to land another top corner next to Darius Slay:
“Philadelphia has a bona fide trade chip in tight end Zach Ertz, who is still considered a top-10 tight end despite last year’s injury-plagued campaign.
Ertz’s inclusion would save the Eagles $8.5 million. They’d still have to make corresponding cap-saving moves, but at least trading Ertz would help offset a large portion of Howard’s contract.
Mike Gesicki continues to improve as the Dolphins’ starting tight end. The position isn’t an immediate need. But the possibility of adding a valuable draft asset and another weapon for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t be dismissed.
Trade Package: The Eagles trade a 2022 second-round draft pick and tight end Zach Ertz to the Dolphins for Howard.”
The Eagles have just one proven cornerback on the roster in Slay and could certainly use somebody to lock down the other side of the field. If Slay goes down, the team is left with Avonte Maddox as their only corner with extensive experience outside. Maddox struggled in his first true year as a starter last season, allowing a 108.3 passer rating when targeted and grading out at 37.8 per PFF.
Regarding Zach Ertz, the 3-time Pro Bowler has been waiting to be dealt for months as Howie continues to hold out for a fair trade offer. The Eagles are reportedly working on a big-money extension for Dallas Goedert and re-signed Richard Rodgers earlier this offseason. Hence, the team is prepared to be without Ertz moving forward.
The Steven Nelson watch doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon, and making a blockbuster deal for a disgruntled star is right up Howie Roseman’s alley. Acquiring Xavien Howard and forming an elite CB tandem with Darius Slay would be a surefire way to improve an Eagles secondary ranking 23rd in takeaways last season.
Leader in INTs + PBUs in 2020?— PFF (@PFF) July 15, 2021
Xavien Howard 🏝pic.twitter.com/AwStS8TddR
Mandatory Credit: Matt Patterson | AP