You might’ve heard NFL coaches say that you can never have enough cornerbacks. The problem for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 was that they didn’t have many and the few they had missed time with injuries. There is a new regime in town and it made it a priority to revamp their secondary this offseason. They did such a good job that they can afford to pass up the chance to pursue Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins, who might be available via trade.
Howard earned an All-Pro designation last year, logging 51 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble, 20 passes defensed, and ten interceptions. Although he was at one point the highest-paid corner in the NFL, he has been eclipsed by teammates Byron Jones, who signed a five-year contract worth $82.5 million last offseason. After having a career year in 2020, Howard wants to get paid like the top cornerback in the NFL. The Phins may or may not cave in but trading him could be an option.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told the media he loves the 2016 second-round selection but the team is in a unique situation, as the corner wants a new deal despite the fact that he still has three years left on his current one. Nevertheless, Howard has made his dissatisfaction with his contract be known and is currently holding out with the expectations of getting a raise. He’s arguably the top cornerback in the NFL right now and justly wants his compensation to reflect that.
Howard is right to demand more money. Teams usually cut players and shred contracts when they don’t longer think they need them. It’s only fair that the Baylor product uses the leverage he has. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Miami pays him or deal him but one team that doesn’t have to worry about that is the Jaguars.
There’s no room for Xavien Howard in the Jaguars cornerback room.
The Jags invested plenty of resources in their cornerback unit this offseason. In fact, it could be a strength in 2021. They signed Shaquill Griffin in free agency and drafted Tyson Campbell in this year’s selection meeting. If that wasn’t enough, they brought back Sidney Jones and Tre Herndon this offseason. Also, sophomore C.J. Henderson should be at full strength after missing eight games in 2020 with a hamstring injury and undergoing labrum surgery earlier this year.
Howard is better than any corner currently on the Jaguars’ roster but he would be an unnecessary luxury at this point. Had the team’s brass not addressed the position this offseason, training for the two-time Pro Bowler could make sense. However, Jacksonville has a surplus of cornerbacks right now.
Moreover, the Jags would have to part way with premium compensation (probably a first-round pick) and give Howard a new deal. That’s simply too much. They already gave Griffin a big contract earlier this year. Also, bringing in the Dolphin could have a negative effect on Campbell’s and Henderson’s development. Miami needs to decide what they want to do with the Xavien Howard but the Jaguars already have a plan in place, so why deviate from it?