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Could the Commanders be interested in a pair of recently released cornerbacks?

Christmas came early for all 32 NFL teams Friday when the league revealed the 2024 salary cap would be $255.4 million — an increase of $30 million from 2023.

Not only does the higher cap give teams more cash to spend in free agency next month, but it also helps some of those teams needing to create cap space ahead of the new league year.

Some of those teams needing to clear began releasing players this week in preparation for free agency. One of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, Xavien Howard, was released by the Miami Dolphins Friday.

Howard, who will turn 31 in July, was slated to count over $25 million against Miami’s salary cap in 2024. He spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the Dolphins, is a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, and has led the NFL in interceptions twice.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Howard can still play. He will receive significant interest from around the NFL. Howard played in 13 games last season but scored the lowest grade of his career, according to Pro Football Focus (55.1).

The Washington Commanders need help at cornerback. Kendall Fuller is a free agent, and Emmanuel Forbes and Benjamin St-Juste struggled in 2023.

Does Howard make sense for Washington?

No, for multiple reasons. First, his age. While a different player than Fuller, Howard is almost two years older than Fuller. Also, he doesn’t offer the versatility that Fuller does. Fuller can play outside, in the slot, or at safety. The Commanders could bring Fuller back for what Howard would cost.

But there was another recently released cornerback who could help Washington.

The San Francisco 49ers released cornerback Isaiah Oliver on Friday. Oliver, 27, spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons before spending the 2023 season in San Francisco. New Washington head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta drafted him. Oliver played for Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. in 2020.

The 6-foot-0, 210-pound Oliver isn’t Howard, but he could provide much-needed veteran depth and stability to the cornerback room. In addition to Quinn and Whitt, Commanders GM Adam Peters was San Francisco’s assistant GM last season. Also, new defensive line coach Darryl Tapp was with the 49ers last season, too.

Oliver would be a cheap addition to the secondary and wouldn’t make a dent in Washington’s NFL-leading salary cap space. Per PFF, he received a 67.6 grade in 2023.

The good news is there are enough voices in the organization to know if Oliver would be a worthwhile addition for 2024.

The Commanders will add to the cornerback room, likely through free agency and the draft. St-Juste and Forbes remain an integral part of Washington’s plans, but after last season, the Commanders shouldn’t count on either.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire