Why the Cardinals should consider trading for Dolphins CB Xavien Howard

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) Xavien Howard
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) Xavien Howard /

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard could hit the trade block in the near future and the Arizona Cardinals should be among those interested in acquiring him.

Back in 2016, current Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph held the same role with the Miami Dolphins. Joseph was a part of the Dolphins coaching staff that decided to use a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on former Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard.

Howard didn’t see much action during his rookie season in Miami with Joseph. But since then, he’s blossomed into arguably the best cornerback in the entire league.

In fact, the current Dolphins corner was the league’s top defender in coverage last season according to NFL Next Gen Stats. With 10 interceptions and 20 pass breakups in 2020, it’s not hard to understand how he ended up at the top of that list.

Arizona Cardinals should attempt to trade for Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard

After his impressive performance last season, it’s no surprise to learn that Howard is reportedly looking for a new deal from Miami that will pay him closer to what some of the other top corners in the NFL like Jalen Ramsey and Marlon Humphrey are currently earning.

Under his current contract, Howard is scheduled to earn less than $13 million during each of the next three seasons. He’s likely hoping for a new deal that would pay him something more like the $20 million average salary that Ramsey currently has.

But what if the Dolphins don’t want to give Howard a raise? They should be able to afford it, but the guys in charge there might want to invest their money elsewhere than in a cornerback who will turn 30 in 2023.

If Miami and Howard can’t agree to a new deal, would they put the All-Pro corner on the trade block? If this happens, then the Cardinals should be one of the first teams to give the Dolphins a call.

Joseph has already helped Arizona’s pass defense make tremendous strides during his first two years with the franchise. If the Cardinals could somehow find a way to acquire Howard before the start of the 2021 season, their defense would be incredibly difficult to pass against.

With guys like Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford in the division, having a top-notch pass defense would be very beneficial for Arizona.

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Miami hasn’t placed Howard on the trade block yet. But if they do, it’s hard to imagine that Joseph wouldn’t love to reunite with the talented corner he helped adjust to the NFL level of play when he was a rookie in 2016.