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One of the top defensive backs in the NFL may be on the move just weeks before the 2021 season kicks off. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard is rumored to be available for trade due to contract issues in Miami.
Although the Baylor product has four years remaining on his current deal, inked in 2019, he believes that he has already outperformed the $75 million contract and wants to be paid accordingly. His $15 million average annual value was once the highest mark for a corner in football, but now ranks sixth in the league. The right team could feasibly land Howard for the $12 million owed to him in 2021 and then rework his deal next summer.
One possible destination that is known for creative cap manipulation is the New Orleans Saints, who also just so happens to be in the cornerback market right now. The team was passively linked to Richard Sherman, but thanks to his recent legal troubles, they may look to Howard as a shut-down complement to Marshon Lattimore.
If the Saints do make a move for Howard, they will likely need to pay him close to $20 million annually after the 2021 season, assuming his production stays strong. But there is absolutely no guarantee that Miami will part ways with Howard, especially while under contract. Reports out of training camp suggest that Miami has no intention of retooling the deal, but would possibly consider a trade given the right prospect package from a team trying to compete for a Super Bowl in 2021.
The current CBA doles out hefty fines for players who hold out from camp. If Howard and his representation don’t get the new contract or trade that they are hoping for, a lengthy holdout would mean big bucks out of the 28-year-old’s pocket.
NFL training camps begin on July 27 for every team except Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Tampa Bay, which begin earlier.