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Xavien Howard returns to practice for Dolphins 2021 training camp

Is Howard on the practice field the first step in a contract compromise?

NFL: Miami Dolphins Training Camp Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard put on pads and took part in team drills on Saturday, working his way back from an ankle injury that has slowed him early in the team’s 2021 training camp. It also could be a sign that the Dolphins and Howard are progressing toward a contract deal that would keep Howard in Miami despite a trade request from the All Pro earlier this summer.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it “sounds like” the Dolphins and Howard have been “moving forward, moving closer to doing” a new contract. Rapoport added that any new deal “was not going to happen” unless Howard was on the field practicing. He adds that, while any progress between the two sides has been incremental, Howard returning to practice “may kick start” negotiations.

Before Friday’s walkthrough practice, head coach Brian Flores explained, “We don’t want to trade ‘X’ (Howard). You can write that down. He’s a very good player. He’s a big part of the team. We don’t want to trade him.”

Flores added, “I think we’re moving in the right direction and we’ll just continue to keep talking to him and his representation. Again, I think we think these – we want these things to happen quickly. We want them to happen right now. But some things take time and we’ll work through it and hopefully come to the best resolution for all sides.”

The Dolphins want to keep Howard and Howard has said he wants to stay in Miami, even with the request for a trade. The two sides seem to be able to find common ground, as long as both sides are willing to compromise. Maybe Howard getting back to practice is the first sign that the compromise is coming.