Xavien Howard was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday according to Cameron Wolfe, staff writer at ESPN. While Howard either tested positive for COVID-19, or was in close contact with someone who did, the Dolphins are not allowed to comment on the move.
Howard, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list, is working to recover from a knee surgery he had at the tail-end of 2019. Howard’s 2019 season came to an end after five games because of the knee injury, but led the league in interceptions with seven in 2018 and has 12 in his career.
The strong performance from Howard in 2018 was rewarded with a five-year $75 million deal that included almost $40 million guaranteed.
Howard is currently paired with newly-signed Byron Jones to be Miami’s cornerback duo on the boundaries.
Jones signed a five-year deal worth $82.5 million in the middle of march, which included $57 million guaranteed, unseating Howard as the league’s highest-paid cornerback.
Howard, a former second-round pick, will now have to be removed from both the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with the unable to perform list if he is hoping to hit the field for opening day, which is scheduled to begin in less than a month.
With hurdles to jump, Jones may have a rookie with him in the secondary to start the year.
First-round pick Noah Igbinoghene, who was selected 30 overall, will likely get snaps in Howard’s place as one of the boundary corners.
Guard Ereck Flowers is the only other player on the Miami Dolphins who is on the COVID-19/reserve list.