Over the past several years the Dallas Cowboys have become a team who don’t mind trading away draft capital in order to acquire players to upgrade the roster. Amari Cooper and Robert Quinn were acquired in such a way, and now there’s a hypothetical trade scenario being put forward right now about the Cowboys and Xavien Howard.
Let’s take a look at how exactly this could go down according to Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report…
Hypothetical deal: Xavien Howard for OL Connor McGovern and a first-round pick
Howard wasn’t present at the Miami Dolphins’ mandatory minicamp last month as a result of an apparent contract dispute. Considering that Miami is already paying more than $16 million a year to Byron Jones at that position, the team could eventually decide to cave and trade the ball-hawking corner this summer.
If so, an inter-conference deal with the Dallas Cowboys makes sense. Dallas is hurting at the cornerback position after losing Jones to Miami in free agency last offseason and then seeing Chidobe Awuzie jump to the Cincinnati Bengals this year. That D already ranked in the bottom 10 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders last year, and they might need to do something bold to support an offense that is ready to win now with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and a top-notch but aging offensive line.
Howard’s contract wouldn’t be easy to move, but Miami could save more than $12 million this year by dealing him, and Dallas could theoretically keep immediate costs low by extending his deal right off the bat.
It would be a risk for the Dolphins, who expect to contend now as well and would have to hope Jones and 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene could hold things down alongside veteran Justin Coleman. But this might be a natural opportunity to make that change, and McGovern could have a chance to start for them inside. It would also be somewhat of an admission that the Dolphins know they need at least another year to truly contend, and the short-term sacrifice would help the rest of the AFC East.
As for Dallas, this would be the ultimate gamble that they’re just a dynamic defensive player away. Losing a first-round pick and offensive line depth would hurt, but Howard just became the first player in more than a decade to intercept 10 passes in a single season. If he keeps that going the next couple of years, it could put the Cowboys over the top.
Connor McGovern, a backup guard, and a first-round draft pick for Xavien Howard? Hmmm…
I’d make this trade!
Acquiring Howard would be an immediate upgrade to the Dallas Cowboys secondary, which will would have a ripple effect throughout the defense making them even better. That’s exactly what Amari Cooper did to the offense when he arrived via trade in 2018 from the Oakland Raiders.
Howard just turned 28 years old on July 4 and is without a doubt a Top 5 cornerback in the NFL right now. He has led the league in interceptions twice in the past two years (2018, 2020) and is coming off a 10 INT year. On top of that, he is a two-time Pro Bowler and would be a perfect fit in Dan Quinn’s defensive system.
If the Cowboys could complete this trade by just giving up Connor McGovern and a first-round pick, they should jump at the opportunity. Yes, they would have to extend or rework Howard’s contract, but that’s easily doable. They’ve shown here recently they know how to get creative as far as contracts are concerned.
Now, it’s important to remember this is just a hypothetical trade scenario. It’s hard to see anyway Howard can be acquired by the Cowboys by offering just a first-round pick and a backup guard, but if they could they should absolutely pull the trigger. It could very well be the move that turns them into a serious contender.
If the Cowboys truly want to land Howard, they may have to sweeten the pot a bit. For a team who hasn’t been shy and about making trades the past few years this might be a situation worth monitoring from here on out.
How much would you give up to acquire Howard?