X is staying home. The Miami Dolphins and All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard agreed to a contract extension on Friday, adding two additional years to his current contract with $50,691,177 in new money. The added years brings his contract to a five-year, $90 million deal and sets Howard as the highest paid cornerback in the league based on average annual value.
The agreement was first reported by Howard’s agent David Canter. NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe, Tom Pelissero, and Mike Garafalo all provided details on the contract. The Dolphins and Howard coming to an agreement on a new contract ends their last major negotiation for the offseason, a negotiation process that began last year when Howard first indicated his displeasure with his contract.
Howard reported to the team’s training camp in 2021, but he was not a full participant. In a “hold in” situation, the cornerback ensured he was not getting fined, but he also made sure everyone knew he was not happy with his contract situation - despite having four years remaining on a deal he signed in 2019. It was a weird situation, with Howard feeling disrespected because not only was he not going to be the top paid cornerback in the league in 2021, he was not even the top paid cornerback on the Dolphins. Cornerback Byron Jones was scheduled to make $16.1 million while Howard was around $15.5 million.
The two sides eventually reached a new agreement during camp and Howard returned to a full participant. “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 after the deal was reached in August. “Just being here and being happy to be here and help guys out.”
The Dolphins had promised to re-look the contract situation with Howard this offseason, and they have lived up to their word.
Howard was a second-round selection by the Dolphins during the 2016 NFL Draft. In six seasons, he has recorded 241 tackles, 71 passes defensed, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumbles recovery with a touchdown, 2 sacks, and 27 interceptions with 2 touchdowns. He led the league in interceptions in 2018 (7) and 2020 (10). He has been selected to three Pro Bowls and has been a First-Team All-Pro selection (2020) and a Second-Team All-Pro selection (2018).
The Dolphins can now focus on the second wave of free agency and the NFL Draft. They could also look to negotiate a long-term deal with tight end Mike Gesicki, who is currently under the one-year franchise tag for the 2022 season.