Disgruntled cornerback Xavien Howard admits ‘nothing is getting done’ with Dolphins

·3 min read

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Xavien Howard seems to realize he’s at the mercy of the Miami Dolphins.

At least for now.

Despite the cornerback’s request to be traded earlier this week — and thorough explanation on an Instagram post about the displeasure he feels about his contract situation — he’s aware there’s a strong possibility he might have to play the 2021 season in Miami.

Or at least start the season here before seeing what happens during the NFL October trade deadline.

“I’m here,” said Howard, who requested that the team re-work the six-year deal he signed in 2019, which is supposed to pay him $77.2 million.

Howard did not clarify if Miami and his agent, David Canter, continue to hold discussions about reworking a deal that has three years left on it after this season. But he didn’t seem too pleased with the tone of the dialog that’s ongoing.

“I hope it gets better. It’s a process. I’m hearing this and that, but nothing is getting done right now.” Howard said. “Right now, I’m just out here every day supporting the team and working.”

When asked how the Dolphins can fix the tension between him and the organization, Howard said, “it’s up to them,” and shrugged his shoulders.

The usually mind-mannered 28-year-old hasn’t been talking much at camp to anyone but his teammates, who have publicly shown him support.

According to league sources, a handful of teams have contacted the Dolphins about acquiring the two-time Pro Bowl pick, who has pulled down 22 interceptions in 56 games the past five seasons. But Miami’s price for the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year candidate, who pulled down 10 interceptions last season, is supposedly “too steep.”

Those sources claim it has been made clear that general manager Chris Grier would require a high level first-round pick, at the least to consider moving Howard, who has sparingly worked with the team during the first week of training camp.

When asked what happens if he doesn’t get traded, or doesn’t get a reworked contract that addressing the disparity in his pay between him and fellow cornerback Byron Jones, Howard’s response was quite deflated, offering up another “I’m here.”

At the time Howard signed the contract he was one of the five highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, pulling in $12.8 million a season.

But since he signed the contract in 2018, five cornerbacks have gotten bigger, more substantial deals, and one of them happens to be Howard’s teammate, Jones, who the Dolphins signed to a five-year deal worth $82.5 million last offseason.

Jones, who was guaranteed $46 million by the Dolphins, will earn $16 million more than Howard over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Howard hopes the Dolphins will close that gap and potentially guarantee more of his contract. When contracts aren’t guaranteed, teams have a habit of shaking down veterans. The Dolphins did just that to linebacker Bernardrick McKinney last week, giving him a $4 million pay cut this season, and eliminating the final two years and $17 million from the deal.

In total, the Dolphins removed $21 million from McKinney’s contract, which they inherited in a trade with Houston this summer.

When asked if he’ll play in the preseason, Howard seemed uncertain.

“We’ll see when we get there,” he said, referring to the three exhibition games teams use to get players ready for the regular season.

Last season Howard began the year on PUP list and sat out the preseason while recovering from a surgical procedure he had done to one of his knees.

Howard pointed out he’ll be prepared for the 2021 season and stressed that he’s motivated to continue playing at a high level.

“Every day I’m out here I’m focused on getting better at something,” said Howard, who will earn $12,075,000 in base salary this season. “Being motivated? That’s just in me right now.”

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