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Chris Grier: Eric Rowe has ‘a shot’ to start across from Xavien Howard

The Dolphins are looking for a cornerback to pair with star Xavien Howard. Will it be Eric Rowe?

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are in need of upgrades all over the roster as the team looks to rebuild following a string of mediocre seasons, and the cornerback position is no exception when it comes to requiring a boost.

Despite being relatively inactive in free agency this offseason as Miami looks to hoard cap space while looking ahead towards the future, the team did sign Eric Rowe to a one-year $3.5 million contract. Rowe, a former member of the New England Patriots, has familiarity with new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and his system.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier mentioned at the NFL Owners Meeting in Arizona this week that Rowe has “a shot” to compete for the number two cornerback spot across from Xavien Howard. Howard is a virtual lock to begin the season atop the cornerback depth chart given his ascension to the upper echelon of NFL defensive backs last season and his recent bid to the Pro Bowl.

Rowe, just 26-years old, sits at 6’1” and 205 lbs, a solid stature for a potential starting outside corner. He’s started just 17 games over his four years in the NFL, but has shown flashes of being a capable contributor on the boundary.

Last season, he lost the starting cornerback job in New England to Jason McCourty, who then played the majority of the season as the team’s number two cornerback across from Stephon Gilmore.

For Rowe to bounce back from last year’s disappointing finish, he’ll have to contend with a litany of other players that Miami has on the roster. Behind Howard on the Dolphins cornerback depth chart currently sit former third-round draft pick Cordrea Tankersley, special teams ace Walt Aikens, Cornell Armstrong, Jalen Davis, Dee Delaney, Torry McTyer, and Jomal Wiltz. Bobby McCain also started some games for the Dolphins on the boundary last season, but with first-round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick set to play more at the free safety position, McCain will likely be the team’s starting nickel corner once again.