Before last season kicked off the Miami Dolphins made a move that seemed wise at the time. They gave start cornerback Xavien Howard an extension that also made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at that time. They then went out and signed former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones as a free agent to a contract that surpassed the value of Howard's deal signed previous to that. Since that time both contracts have been surpassed which brings us to now. As everyone is now aware Howard went on to have a pro bowl season, leading the league in interceptions for the second time in three years, having double-digit interceptions, a feat that no one had accomplished for a decade, all on his way to standing out as one of if not the best players in one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Byron Jones for his part had a subpar season, especially given the massive value of his contract. So perhaps not unexpectedly Howard is said to want a new deal or more correctly a reworked deal that gives him both more guaranteed money and more money overall given the stellar season that he just finished and that he is no longer the highest-paid corner in the NFL let alone on his own team. While Howard would no doubt like more money I always assume that their agents, or in his case his new agent, is in his ear telling him that he needs to make these demands or the team is shorting him his value or even possibly disrespecting him. Agents in most cases probably do have the best interest of the player in mind but they are also running a business so they are going to shoot for any opportunity to get the player/players that they represent more money as it equates to more money for themselves. It’s also how you keep your clients as an agent at the NFL level so this was probably likely to happen had he changed agents or not.
So now the Miami Dolphins are faced with at least a couple of different dilemmas. No team wants to get into the habit of reworking a contract, a contract that was a record deal at the time, only a year after it was signed by both sides just because the player had an excellent season following the signing of the new deal. This is not the message that you want to send out to the rest of your team or their agents, that you are willing to pony up again each year if necessary to keep a player happy just because they had a great year on the field. Miami is also faced with the fact that his play in 2020 demands whatever top dollar is currently in the NFL but that is combined with his history of a long list of knee injuries making the last contract they gave him already a risk for the team. In addition, the current deal that Howard is playing under was structured to give the team flexibility if the injuries were to catch back up to Howard, and the team was forced to make a tough decision.
Any new deal that Miami might consider giving Howard if they are willing to do so is likely going to pass the 20 million dollars a year mark. It’s not that Howard and his play is not worth it but it’s the gable that such a huge cap number represents with a player who has an extensive injury history. It would also make it harder to keep the deal as flexible as it is now in the long term if the team was forced to move on from Howard due to injuries or some other issue as Howard has a history of making what some would consider questionable decisions off the field although he has never been charged with anything but the hint that he might not always think before doing is certainly something that the team has to be thinking at times.
So tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is what would you like to see your Miami Dolphin do with Xavien Howard going forward? Would you like them to give in to him and his agent and redo his contract giving him more guaranteed money and more money overall to compensate him for his good play? Should the team stand pat and tell Howard and his agent that he signed a deal and they expect him to honor that deal knowing that they may wind up with a disgruntled player that either causes his play to slip a great deal or causes him to force his way off the team? Should the team just decide that they can’t take the chance of giving him more money and trade him now when his value has never been higher?
Give us your thoughts below-
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