The Miami Dolphins and cornerback Xavien Howard reached a compromise agreement on a revised contract that should keep Howard in Miami for the 2021 season. The new agreement changes around some of the money in his contract and adjusts some possible bonuses, ultimately making it so Howard could earn $16.3 million this season, pushing him ahead of Byron Jones’ $16.1 million cap number for 2021. Howard, in his trade request earlier in the summer, highlighted that he was not the highest paid cornerback on the Dolphins’ roster. This fixes that for Howard.
“I’m happy. I’ll always be happy to be with the team that drafted me and stuck through the ups and downs,” Howard said on Sunday after the deal was reached. “Just being here and being happy to be here and help guys out.”
The Dolphins and Howard, along with his agent David Canter, agreed that after the 2021 season, both sides would again take a look at Howard’s contract, potentially reworking the extension he signed in 2019. That deal runs through the 2024 season, with a high salary-cap number of $16.5 million in 2022. “I’m just worried about this year right now,” Howard said of any potential concerns about future years on his contract. “I’m taking it one year at a time. I’m focused on getting better and helping my team out the best way to win the game. That’s it.”
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who had made clear the team did not plan to trade Howard, said after the deal was reached, “We’re excited. I’ve been up here multiple times saying we’ve been making progress. (Reporters) were asking me question after question about progress. We were making progress. I know you guys probably felt like we were – or I wasn’t giving you all the information, which I wasn’t; but we were working on it. I’m not going to give you guys the details, but we’re excited to have gotten this done and we are just looking forward to continually improving with ‘X’ (Howard) and really his teammates on a day-to-day basis and just try to build and get better offensively, defensively and in the kicking game.”
As for any concern that Howard would not be with the Dolphins this year, or that a new agreement could not be reached, Flores stated, “I can’t say that there was much level of concern. I think (general manager) Chris (Grier), (Senior Vice President, Football and Business Administration) Brandon (Shore), ‘X’s’ representation; there was always communication, so like I said a few weeks ago, I think any time there are lines of communication that are open – there’s dialogue, there’s concessions, compromise, whatever you want to call it on both sides which obviously on our side there was definitely some concessions – and you do that on a case-by-case basis with certain players. In this instance, we felt like we were doing – we’re always going to do what we feel is best for the team and we’re excited to have him.”
Instead of dwelling on any concerns that a new contract would not be reached, Howard looked to the new deal and the future, saying, “At the end of the day, we got it done so all of the other stuff, I’m not even worried about it. I’m just happy to be here.”
He added, “Like I said, the deal got done. I’m here with the team. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Dolphins, with Howard, who had been dealing with an ankle injury early in camp, are preparing for their first preseason game of the year on Saturday. The team will travel to Chicago this week to participate in joint practices with the Chicago Bears prior to the game. Saturday’s game against the Bears kicks off at 1pm ET from Chicago’s Soldier Field and will be aired in Miami on CBS.