The LA Chargers are running out a new defense in 2021 that is completely revamped from previous years. While many of the same players are still in the defense, the defense itself has undergone an overhaul, going from Gus Bradley's scheme to Brandon Staley's.
Charger fans have to feel optimistic about this change. While Bradley's defense was good at the "bend, don't break" style, Staley is bringing something that is proven to work. He turned the Rams defense from league-average to the best in the league in his lone season as a defensive coordinator.
That naturally makes the LA Chargers an interesting potential destination for Xavien Howard. Howard is in the midst of a contract standoff with the Miami Dolphins and in all likelihood, is going to be traded. Howard is a two-time Pro Bowler and was named an All-Pro last season.
Tom Telesco is not known for making moves like this, as evident from the team not trading for Julio Jones when they really should have. However, you can never say never in the NFL and if Staley and Telesco really want him they can go get him.
While he is a big name and would be the best cornerback on the roster if acquired, it is best if the LA Chargers just stay away from Xavien Howard.
Why the LA Chargers should not trade for Xavien Howard:
The first thing to consider is the price of the trade. While the best asset traded for Jones was a second-round pick, it is more than likely that Howard will require a first-round pick to be moved. Even with the contract dispute, the cost for these elite cornerbacks is a first-round pick.
There is no better example of this than the Jalen Ramsey trade. Ramsey was in a very similar situation and he cost two first-round picks. Granted, Ramsey was much younger when he was traded than Howard is, but that is the difference between two first-round picks and just one.
The age component of this is extremely important. Xavien Howard is 28 years old. That is not very old, but he is getting there in the NFL world. Just look at Casey Hayward last season. He took a massive step back at 31 years old.
The age of 30 typically is a milestone for the wrong reasons for a cornerback. That is typically when these guys start to regress. Howard is much closer to that than Ramsey (who is currently 26) was when he was traded to the Rams.
The Chargers would have to work out a new contract with Howard upon trading for him as well. This is the second issue Howard has had with his contract and he is going to want to be paid as much if not more than Ramsey, who signed a five-year, $105 million contract.
It simply is not worth it for the Chargers to not only give up a first-round pick (and then some) but then also agree to a 4-5 year deal worth $80-110 million. It was different with Jones, who would not have conflicted with Justin Herbert's rookie deal. This absolutely would do so.
The Chargers are much better off trusting in Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr, especially with the changes that Staley is going to make to the defense. Howard's ceiling is much higher than those two but the regression factor is absolutely something to be wary of.
While it is easy to get frustrated at Tom Telesco's lack of aggression, here it is justified.