BREAKING NEWS: Texans In Agreement To Land Dolphins Star Xavien Howard

Xavien Howard may have lost a stride during the last two seasons, but he has not lost fan support. Fans would want to see him in a Houston Texans jersey next fall. Howard, who will be released by the Miami Dolphins at the start of the new calendar year, could be the missing piece in Houston’s defense that separates the AFC South franchise from other contenders in the quest to compete with Kansas City.

 

Dolphins should keep Xavien Howard despite high price | Perkins

Yes, Steven Nelson was a reliable No. 2 option opposite Derek Stingely Jr., but a four-time Pro Bowler and past All-Pro rarely hits free agency before the end of their career. Fans have made it known that they want to see the Houston native return home to finish his career. Players, including former Dolphins first-round pick and All-Pro left tackle Laremy Tunsil, expressed their thoughts on the situation.

Will that influence Nick Caserio’s decisions this offseason? Likely not. However, pricing could influence whether the Texans make a huge investment in a promising young player or believe Howard’s greatest days are ahead of him. When healthy, Howard is a top-tier cornerback with the awareness, footwork, and fluidity to rival any top receiver. Since getting drafted from Baylor in 2016, only the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons (30) had more interceptions than Howard’s 29. Last season, Howard received a 55.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, but a 63.9 in run defense. The turnover ratio has dropped considerably in the last two seasons. Howard, who led the NFL with 10 in 2020, has only seven in the last three years.

That is not to say Howard will not command attention. Given his experience, Howard is expected to be one of the most sought-after alternatives on the market when he becomes available. He is also expected to be willing to negotiate a short-term contract, unlike Chicago Bears’ Jaylon Johnson and Kansas City Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed, who are looking to cash in following big 2023 seasons. Houston, which allowed the 10th most passing yards last season, could afford to sign Howard in the short term. The Texans have more over $67 million in cap space, but they also have the most free agents with 38.

What is the going rate? A two-year $22 million contract with an annual salary of approximately $11 million. Caserio would have to consider the suggestion. A four-year, $75 million asking price? When the 30-year-old explains his case, the GM should just say, “Best of luck to you and your future success.” The Texans need help at cornerback. They could look to the draft at No. 23 to locate a long-term running partner to replace their former No. 3 pick. They might wait until Day 2 to target players such as Kamari Lassiter (Georgia), Kalen King (Penn State), and Kris Abrams-Draine (Missouri).

Howard’s fame has weight in negotiations, but his on-field performance may force his asking price to drop. In the center, the Texans could be an excellent place for a player like Howard to recover. The same could be said for 31 other teams in need of a senior No. 2 defensive back to complement their best cover guy, so it all boils down to the brass tax — or brass green.

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