As I have now mentioned in two previous posts, Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavian Howard is unhappy with his current contract and want’s to renegotiate a new deal. This is despite just extending his contract last offseason for what at the time was a record deal for a corner in the NFL. Up until now, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has had little to say on the subject until this past Tuesday morning while speaking to the media about the team's mandatory mini-camp. As everyone knows Howard has not as of yet shown up at the “mandatory” camp meaning that he can be fined by the team as per the contract that he signed. Howard had also previously skipped the voluntary OTA’s for the team. Xavian can be fined $15,515.00 for missing the first day of the mini-camp and a total of $93,085.00 for missing all three days.
Flores in his presser, while noting that the team likes having Howard and wants to keep him in town also said, “It’s pretty clear this is a contract situation, which we’ve talked about internally.” “X is a little bit of a unique situation. He was extended and now we’re talking about a potential renegotiation after one year. Those turn into longer conversations. We understand that. We’ve obviously had a lot of talks and conversations about that and we’ll continue to have those and keep them internal, but it’s a very unique conversation.” Flores went on later to tell ESPN, “After one year, it’s honestly something that hasn’t been done before. Not saying we’re drawing a line in the sand, but different players set the market every year.”
While Howard, who will turn 28 in July, did ball out last season and lead the league in interceptions with a total of 10 he has also had a history of injury in the past. Howard who has over his five-year playing career earned himself two trips to the NFL’s Pro Bowl has also missed 24 games at various times due to knee injuries. Howard made it through the 2020 without any injuries serious enough to keep him from playing in any games but during the 2019 season only managed to see the field during five games.
When Howard re-upped last offseason his deal was for five years and $75.25 million dollars, giving him the highest value contract for a corner in the NFL at an average of $15.05 million per season. The five years in the deal actually covered the 2019 season as well despite being signed before the 2020 season. I am not sure how that works but I’m also sure that it’s one of those tricks teams use to lessen the impact on the salary cap while staying in the rules even if they are also skirting them a bit. This was a redo of the end of his rookie deal which averaged 1.5 million per season to then also include the extended years. Following the signing of Byron Jones by the Dolphins in free agency Howard instantly became the second-highest-paid corner on both his own team and in the NFL. The highest spot is now held by the Los Angeles Rams corner Jalen Ramsey who last off-season signed a five-year 105 million dollar extension that averages 21 million per season.
So tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is while we all can see the talent Xavian exhibits on the field during every game what should the Dolphins do now that he is officially holding out of mandatory team activities? Should they bite the bullet and just pay the man despite the horrible precedent that it will set for other players that may believe that they also deserve a bigger deal? Should they just take some of those calls that are reportedly being made to the team by other NFL clubs acquiring about Howard and looking to see if he is available in a trade? Neither option is one I believe the Dolphins are hoping to have to go with but if he does not eventually just show up at regular training camp on his own accord then a decision will have to be made at some point by the front office. The final choice is of course for the team to tell Howard to play on the deal he signed or he can sit at home. This of course means the team does not have to pay him for 2021 and he will no longer count fully against the cap (other than his prorated bonus) but they also neither have him on the field nor get anything in return for him at that point and his value might go down if he sits at home for a season.
What are your thoughts on the situation? What would you like to see happen if Howard refuses to budge on his demands? Give us your thoughts below-
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