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Packers Urged To Sign 10-INT Free Agent

Xavien Howard is one of the top free agent cornerbacks left on the market, and one outlet believes the Green Bay Packers should sign him.
Xavien Howard Free Agent

Stephon Gilmore is the best free agent cornerback on the market, but Xavien Howard isn’t too far behind him. A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Howard spent the better part of the past decade establishing himself as one of the best ballhawks in the league. Back in 2020, the Baylor product won First-Team All-Pro honors after recording a league-best 10 interceptions and 20 passes defended to go along with one forced fumble, 51 tackles, and one tackle-for-loss.

Age has caught up to the veteran, and the four-time Pro Bowler is no longer capable of putting together that type of season. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t play. The cash-strapped Dolphins had no choice but to release the veteran, and Bleacher Report believes he’d be an ideal fit for the Green Bay Packers.

Though they traded cornerback Rasul Douglas during the 2023 season, the Packers didn’t really address the corner position until drafting Penn State’s Kalen King in the seventh round. Adding a veteran to the cornerback room would be advisable, and Xavien Howard certainly fits the bill.  Howard battled a foot injury with the Miami Dolphins last season but still allowed an opposing passer rating of just 81.3 in coverage. Though he’ll turn 31 in July, he’s still capable of boosting a secondary.

Packers Linked To Free Agent Xavien Howard

Xavien Howard’s overall numbers dropped off last year, but you can blame the foot injury for most of that. Now that he’s medically cleared, the former lockdown cornerback should be a reliable CB2 for Green Bay’s defense. Losing Joe Barry is addition by subtraction, but the Packers could still use more help in the secondary. Jordan Love’s success jumpstarted Green Bay’s rebuild and they could make a deep playoff push next year with improved defensive play.

Of course, the Packers aren’t the only team that could be interested in signing Xavier Howard as a free agent. High-level cornerback play is a rare commodity in today’s NFL, as decades of offense-oriented rule changes have made it easier than ever to throw the ball. Howard might not be able to shut down an opponent’s top receiver anymore, but the former second-round pick can improve just about every depth chart in the league.

Other Possible Destinations

Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud proved himself to be a legitimate franchise quarterback last year, and now the Texans are going all-in on his rookie window. While this roster has the talent to win it all, their biggest weakness is the secondary. Derek Stingley is a great talent, but nobody should rely on Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson in 2024. Xavien Howard would be an immediate upgrade for this team, and the free agent should welcome an opportunity to win a title with his hometown team.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have a ferocious front seven, and they’d be even more lethal with better coverage. Xavien Howard might not be the player he once was, but the ballhawk free agent could thrive in a scheme that should see several off-target passes caused by early pressure. Don’t expect another 10-pick season, but this playmaking ability could be the thing this team needs to finally get over the hump.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City would not have won the Super Bowl last year without their impressive defense. While most of the unit is returning for another round, the Chiefs have yet to replace L’Jarius Sneed. Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson both showed promise in depth roles, but Andy Reid and company should consider signing a veteran free agent like Xavien Howard. A team like Kansas City can never have too many good cornerbacks, as opposing offenses will throw early and often to keep up with Patrick Mahomes.

Carolina Panthers

Xavien Howard isn’t going to win a Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers, but the free agent could end up here if they are the highest bidders. Carolina previously wanted Stephon Gilmore, but the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal. Now, the Panthers could pivot to Howard as they look to find a veteran capable of starting opposite Jaycee Horn. Even with the offensive improvements, this team will probably still need to win games with defense in 2024.

Los Angeles Chargers

Jim Harbaugh entered his first offseason with the Chargers needing to rebuild the team to fit his future. While most of his work came on the offensive side of the ball, he has yet to make dramatic changes to the defense. This unit was one of the worst in the league last year, and while improved scheme should lead to better results, they could still use a free agent like Xavien Howard to bolster the secondary. If Los Angeles wants to make the playoffs next year, they’ll probably need to steal a game from the Chiefs, and you can’t do that without a strong secondary.

Main Phot: Sam Navarro – USA Today Sports


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