Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard just earned the second Pro Bowl bid of his career and is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also wants a new contract.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Howard’s camp will ask the team to renegotiate the five-year, $75MM contract that Howard signed with the ‘Fins in 2019. Although the contract made Howard the highest-paid CB in the league at the time, he is now the sixth-highest-paid corner, one spot behind teammate Byron Jones and his $16.5MM average annual value. Plus, Jones’ $46MM in full guarantees dwarfs Howard’s $27.2MM, and Howard is looking to strike while the iron is hot.
The 27-year-old is leading the league in interceptions this season (nine), and while he was limited to just five games in 2019, he also led the league in picks in 2018 (despite playing in just 12 games that year). Pro Football Focus considers him the best corner in football this season, with a stellar 90.0 grade in coverage.
From that standpoint, it’s easy to see why Howard is looking for a contract more akin to the market-topping five year, $105MM pact ($71.2MM fully guaranteed) that Jalen Ramsey recently pulled down from the Rams. But that’s the nature of the beast, particularly at a premium position like CB. One player sets the market and another player comes along, sometimes hours later, and resets it. But the first player generally doesn’t get another bite at the apple with four years left on his existing contract, and Howard is under club control through 2024.
That said, Miami knows what it has in Howard, and Salguero says it’s possible the team could try to appease him. It’s currently unclear if the Dolphins even know about Howard’s intentions at this point, and while they certainly don’t want to set a precedent by renegotiating a deal that has so much time remaining, Howard is obviously a game-changing talent.
The ‘Fins did field trade calls for Howard before this year’s deadline, but they put an enormous price tag on him. If negotiations go awry, they could theoretically look to deal him and would have no issue finding suitors, but they appear to be a team on the rise and surely don’t want to lose their best defensive player when they hope to be contending for titles.
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