The Baltimore Ravens came away from the NFL trade deadline without any big additions, but a front office known for being aggressive made a push for Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard.
Howard, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was quietly made available by the Dolphins in the midst of a dismal 2021 season. While a blockbuster deal never came to fruition, Baltimore reportedly made a strong push to upgrade its secondary with a marquee player.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Ravens made a run at Miami’s All-Pro cornerback. He was viewed as the right fit for a secondary that has struggled early in the season following Marcus Peters’ season-ending injury.
- Xavien Howard PFF stats (2021): 104.8 passer rating when targeted, 27 receptions allowed, two interceptions
Howard, the NFL’s interception leader in 2018 (seven) and 2020 (10), has struggled this season in Miami. A training camp holdout resulted in his contract being adjusted, but the 6-foot-1 cornerback isn’t playing at his usual standard thus far.
But the Ravens hoped that Howard could help fix one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Entering Week 9, Baltimore allows the fifth-highest pass yards per attempt (8.2) and the most passing yards per game (296.1). Putting Howard on the field with Marlon Humphrey would have given the Ravens two All-Pro cornerbacks.
But, per Rapoport, money got in the way of a potential deal. Miami reportedly sought at least a first-round pick in exchange for Howard. That wasn’t an asking price the Ravens were willing to meet unless the Dolphins agreed to eat a portion of Howard’s remaining salary ($13.785 million).
- Xavien Howard contract: $15.18 million cap hit (2021, $14.375 million cap hit (2022), $13.4 million cap hit (2023)
Ultimately, a trade never materialized and Howard will finish out the season in Miami. But considering the Dolphins’ downward trajectory and reported trade talks with the Dallas Cowboys during the 2021 NFL Draft, it would be a surprise if Howard plays for Miami next season.