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Report: Dolphins CB Xavien Howard has interest in joining Texans

The Houston Texans have uncertainty at cornerback entering the 2024 offseason. Veteran Steven Nelson is not under contract after a career season, and it’s left a huge hole across from breakout sophomore Derek Stingley Jr.

Before the NFL free agency period has even started, one potential replacement has already made his interest known: Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard.

NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo reported Friday that Miami intends to release Howard. The former second-round pick is a four-time Pro Bowler and has led the NFL in interceptions twice, most recently in 2020 when he was a First-Team All-Pro. His play has dipped recently the past two seasons, and a major contract extension that he signed in 2022 has forced the Dolphins to move on from their former star as a cap casualty.

ESPN reporter DJ Bien-Aime shared Friday that Howard has expressed interest in joining the Texans, according to individuals close to him. Now, it’s up to general manager Nick Caserio and the Texans veteran scouting department to decide if the interest is mutual.

Howard would be a very reasonable plug-and-play corner opposite of Stingley who might come at a discounted price after his recent season. However, it’s unclear whether or not he would be a true upgrade from Nelson at this point or if he would even be a cheaper option considering how his name and past performance could increase demands.

At this point, this is still speculation. Miami has still not determined when they will release Howard, with many expecting it to happen at the start of the new league year on March 13. Whenever he is released, he will be free to sign with Houston or whatever team is interested

For fans searching for big name editions and further talent infusion to DeMeco Ryan’s defense, Howard be a welcome addition. He likely won’t be the last name interested in the up-start franchise looking to take the next steps towards true Super Bowl contention.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire