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Byron Jones: Xavien Howard is ‘the freaking best’

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard wants a new contract from the team, but now that he feels that is not happening, he has asked the team to trade him. As a part of his public statement confirm the trade request, Howard wrote, “I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs that claim. The assignments I’m given, shadowing the opposition’s best player with list help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I’m the second highest paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.”

The highest paid cornerback on the Dolphins is Byron Jones. The Dolphins signed Jones to a five-year, $82 million contract in 2020, a year after having signed Howard to a five-year, $75.25 million contract extension. Both contracts made the players the highest-paid cornerback in the league when they were signed, but now they rate as the fifth- and sixth-highest deals behind Jalen Ramsey, Marlon Humphrey, Tre’Davious White, and Darius Slay.

While contract dispute and trade requests are not unusual in the NFL, this seems a little more awkward as Howard threw his own teammate into the middle of the complaint. Jones met with the media on Friday, and it does not seem as though he is bothered by Howard using him as the example for why Howard needs more money.

“I didn’t mind because truthfully man, the guy is one of the best,” Jones said of the situation. “The guy had 10 interceptions last year. There is no secret to his impact on the defense and his impact on the team. When a guy has a season like that, he’s the freaking best. I understand what he’s trying to do. That’s my boy. We played a lot of hard snaps last year together. We’ve bonded close together, so I understand the business.”

He added, “I understand what he’s trying to do. Obviously we’d love to have him here, but there are no hard feelings. I’m not scared of facts. The dude is the best. There is no question about that. Last year we gave him all of the hard covers and he showed up. Not only did he show up, but he also excelled at those too. He didn’t get cupcake interceptions. He went and got those – with one hand, high-pointing the ball. He made his money. He earned it definitely.”

Jones also said he and Howard had spoken about the post. “We always talk,” he explained. “We talk every single day.”

Howard is currently dealing with an ankle injury that has held him out the last couple of training camp practices. Whenever Jones is not participating in a repetition during practice, he and Howard are together watching and talking.

“It’s healthy, baby. Of course,” Jones said of his relationship with Howard. “We’re both trying to get better each and every day. We’re in the meeting rooms talking together. We do individual meetings with the coach, so it’s perfectly fine.”

The Dolphins get back on the practice field later today in the first training camp practice open to the public since 2019.