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Xavien Howard Trade Rumors: Several Teams Interested amid Dolphins Contract Dispute

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

AP Photo/David Becker

The NFL's reigning interception leader could eventually be on the move.

On Wednesday, Michael Silver of NFL Network reported Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard is "unhappy" with the five-year, $75.25 million contract extension he signed two years ago and is looking for a new deal after he led the league with 10 interceptions in 2020.

In light of that, "several teams, all in win-now mode, [are] pondering" trading for him. Silver suggested the Dolphins would require at least a first-round pick in such a move, and any team who trades for him would also need to be willing to pay him.

Silver also noted Howard may hold out of training camp if he is not traded or signed to a new deal, especially after he already skipped the offseason program. Holding out of training camp would result in fines of $50,000 a day.

Howard is among the best cornerbacks in the league and is just 28 years old, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see a team in need of secondary help make a move.

He is a two-time Pro Bowler who also led the league with seven interceptions during the 2018 campaign. While he played just five games in 2019, he wasted little time reestablishing himself as a top-notch playmaker in 2020.

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The Baylor product finished the season with 51 tackles and an NFL-best 20 passes defended to go with his interception total. Pro Football Focus gave him an impressive overall player grade of 87.3 for his efforts, and his presence was a major reason the Dolphins finished with a winning record for the first time since 2016 at 10-6.

Next up is a potential playoff run for the first time since that 2016 season, but it may prove difficult without Howard anchoring the secondary.

How the situation unfolds in the coming weeks will be key for Miami's defense as it looks to build on last year's turnaround.

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