A star cornerback could be on the move.
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has requested a trade from the team on Tuesday citing, “I don’t feel valued or respected by the Dolphins."
Teams have already called the Dolphins about a trade for Howard, which is not surprising. The guy is one of the best cornerbacks in the league and has been the ultimate ballhawk the past few seasons. Any team would love to have Howard in their ranks as he would instantly be a boost to their secondary. Even the 49ers would welcome him as they do not have the most sured-up position at cornerback.
As elite as Jason Verrett was last year, that season should be looked at right now as an outlier just based off the fact he was healthy for almost the whole year. Emmanuel Moseley is still a bit of a question mark and the two rookies, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, could need the season to develop.
So should the 49ers trade for Howard?
Yes, they absolutely should.
Howard is an All Pro caliber cornerback. He reeled in 10 interceptions in 2020, which was a league best. The 49ers have needed players in their secondary to reel in more turnovers and Howard is EXACTLY the guy for it as he has 18 interceptions totaled since 2018. Acquiring Howard makes all the sense in the world because he is a much better player than Verrett. He doesn't carry anywhere near the same injury concerns and is 28-years old.
Bringing in Howard would mean two things for the 49ers. Draft capital is going to be given up and so is future salary cap space. Both can easily be forfeited for the benefit of acquiring a stud. The biggest issue here for the 49ers would be draft capital because they are a bit limited and it is what the 49ers aren't so keen on giving up, especially for a cornerback. A second-round pick is what I believe would get it done. Darius Slay went for a third-round pick when he was traded from the Lions to the Eagles. Howard definitely shouldn't cost a first since he is not on the same level as Jalen Ramsey.
Salary cap won't even be an issue once Jimmy Garoppolo is off the books, but of course Howard is going to require a reworked deal and an extension. The 49ers can easily push his salary cap number back and fit him in. At the end of the day, if a team really wants to keep a player, then they can easily manipulate the cap. Aside from getting over the hurdle of wanting to trade more draft capital, bringing in Howard makes all the sense in the world. As much as their defense relies on the pass rush, they need one corner who is a stud. They had that with Richard Sherman in 2019 and now they can have that for the future with Howard.
Trading for Howard is a move Super Bowl contenders make and with a rookie quarterback it makes it a much smoother transaction.