Things are looking pretty optimistic for the Dallas Cowboys secondary right now. Like, really optimistic. Through five practices we have seen a number of different players get their hands on the ball for interceptions. Trevon Diggs looks to be taking the second-year leap that we expected, Nahshon Wright popped the first day, Maurice Canady has interceptions in back-to-back practices, and Anthony Brown also got in on the action as recently as Wednesday.
As good as this sounds we have to keep ourselves grounded. We have been burned far too many times by this secondary (ironically given that they are usually the ones getting burned) to allow ourselves to fully fall in love which is why we are always looking for ways to improve it.
Dallas did draft the aforementioned Nahshon Wright this year along with Israel Mukuamu at safety, but their top cornerback taken was Kelvin Joseph. With all due respect to Joseph, he was clearly not the top plan as either Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn were before the Cowboys had the rug pulled out from them by the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
So what other options exist for the team to improve the secondary then? They could always trade for someone, and it just so happens that there is a stud cornerback who wants out of his current situation. We have talked about this before, but is it really possible?
ESPN named the Dallas Cowboys as a potential trade destination for Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
Normally it wouldn’t be too big of news that a national outlet named the Cowboys as a trade destination for a player who wants out (and is being very vocal about it) of his current spot. This happens all of the time. Again, we have talked about this subject hypothetically ourselves here at BTB.
What stood out about the connecting of Howard to Dallas was the report buried in the first sentence. The Dallas Cowboys apparently looked into him this offseason.
Rumors persisted in league circles that Dallas looked into a Howard deal at some point this offseason, but aside from that … this is a Dallas move. All splash, and it solves a big need. The Cowboys’ pass rush needs more production, and what better way to help than with a true shutdown corner to buy rushers time?
Dallas doesn’t have a ton of cash — $5.4 million in cap space as of this week — but a little roster maneuvering could solve that in a hurry. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would gladly welcome Howard’s ball disruption. He hasn’t had a corner that good since Richard Sherman.
Looking past the “the Cowboys love to make a splash!” part of this, that is very interesting. Obviously we don’t know when the team looked into it if at all, and we can make arguments for different things, but it makes the most sense that it would have been after Surtain and Horn went to other teams during the 2021 NFL Draft.
We know that the Cowboys entered this week ready to improve the secondary as they brought in Malik Hooker at safety. And while it is exciting to see that the cornerbacks on the team are all playing well in camp, none of them offer what Xavien Howard does.
OverTheCap suggested a young cornerback and a first-round pick as a potential price for Howard, but a different price would also have to be paid given that Howard is not satisfied with his current contract situation. He is clearly seeking to be paid like one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, which his play justifies, but given that the Byron Jones contract in his own position room is clearly a hurdle for him, and that it was one the Cowboys did not want to do business with, doesn’t exactly inspire optimism that Dallas would be willing to pay up.