Some believe the Browns should try and trade for Xavien Howard.
The Browns revamped their defense in the 2021 offseason by mostly going younger. Sure, they added Jadeveon Clowney, Troy Holt, and Anthony Walker, but a lot of the guys the Browns picked up are under 26 years old. The hope is more than likely centered around the age of these younger players, and the potential they can develop into something more. If three rookie players on defense step up and earn starting spots, that would make a world of difference. So with the youth movement on defense, and the desire to save cap-space, it makes no sense to trade for the Dolphins’ Xavien Howard.
Howard is unhappy with his current contract, which was originally a five-year, $75 million deal that just kicked in during the 2018 season. Howard believes he’s worth more, despite the fact he’s largely been inconsistent his entire career and is only getting older.
Howard is under contract for the next four years, with a yearly average of $12.3 million per season. It’s hard to fathom how he feels he’s being underpaid but the year-to-year metrics not only prove he’s not worth a new deal but isn’t worth the one he already got.
PFF has not been kind to Xavien Howard
Admittedly Xavien Howard had a good 2020, posting a PFF grade of 87.3. That said, in 2019, he posted 56.5, in 2018 he posted a 77.3, in 2017 he posted a 64.8, and in 2016 he posted a 57.4. So what’s more likely for a 2021 outing? The same as or better than his 2020 campaign, or another average outing like he posted in 2018 and 2017?
He’s already missed 24 games over his short career, and as a football player ages, he’s only more susceptible to injury, especially at a position like a cornerback. If he played safety, was happy with his already inflated contract, and was available for a moderate price; sure.
The problem comes with the fact that he’s injury-prone, plays a position the Browns already invested a lot into, he’s already over-paid for career-long play, expects a significant pay increase and you’d probably have to part with a first or several second-round picks to get him.
He’s just not worth all that you’re giving up to get him. Now if he were Champ Bailey, sure. Yet, Howard isn’t viewed as the best corner in the league, and before 2020 probably wasn’t even in the top 10.
Avoid making a mistake by giving up assets and flexibility to get a guy with inconsistent play.