A few days ago, following an ominous Instagram post from Xavien Howard himself, it appeared irreparable damage had been done to the relationship between the All-Pro corner and the organization that drafted him and made him the once-highest paid corner in the NFL. But there may still be hope after all. Per Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post, Howard would, “prefer to get a deal done in Miami.” Habib mentioned that Howard may not necessarily be optimistic about the prospects of such a deal, but it’s worth noting that the corner wants to stay in sunny South Florida.
Howard’s official trade request that was posted to Instagram made it seem as though there wasn’t much room for his relationship with the Miami Dolphins to be repaired. “I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t Feel valued, or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I,” Howard explained. “That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy, and have requested a trade.”
Despite the request, Howard has been present at Dolphins training camp. The new agreement between the NFL and NFLPA stipulates that players who don’t report receive mandatory fines of $50,000 per day, so it’d be quite difficult for Howard to justify not showing up. He’s been a limited participant thus far, sitting out with a minor injury and watching from the sidelines for some drills. Howard did mention quite clearly in his post that he’s “just [there] so I don’t get fined, and will handle myself like professionals do.”
As for why he’s at odds with general manager Chris Grier and the front office to begin with, Howard simply wants to get paid the compensation he feels (as does most everyone else) that he deserves. Since signing his mega deal with the Dolphins in May of 2019, Howard has been surpassed in average contract value by five other cornerbacks, including Miami’s own Byron Jones, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal ($16.5 million per year) in 2020. Howard had a legendary season in 2020, leading the NFL in interceptions and being the turnover machine and shutdown corner the Dolphins organization always hoped he could be.
Howard noted that he’s not necessarily looking for a massive raise in dollars per year. In his post, he states, “we wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table - like guaranteeing more money - that we felt were win-wins for both sides. These were proposals of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed.”
Of course, there’s plenty of time between now and Miami’s Week 1 kickoff on September 12th. Between now and then, we’re sure to get plenty more speculation on Howard’s status with the team, including mock trades, dissections of every quote from Howard and head coach Brian Flores, and more. For now, it looks like there’s still room to keep Howard in the fold long term. We here at The Phinsider will be sure to keep you covered every step of the way.
This article was written by The Phinsider Staff Writer, Justin Hier. For more from Justin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @HierJustin.