The Miami Dolphins and Xavien Howard have agreed to a re-structured contract that will keep the disgruntled All-Pro cornerback in Miami, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones has confirmed. The NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo first reported the deal, which includes a $1 million Pro Bowl incentive and additional $3.5 million in incentives bringing his maximum value for 2021 to $16,285,294 — about $20,000 more than Stephon Gilmore, the league’s highest paid cornerback.
“I was just happy about the whole situation,” Howard told reporters on Sunday, via Pro Football Talk. “I’m just happy to be here and compete with the team. It feels great to be out here with my team, getting better. We got the deal done so it feels great to be out here.”
In 2022, Howard would receive $500K in per-game roster bonuses and $100K in workout bonuses. Howard, an All-Pro in 2020, tallied 10 interceptions, which led the league. Assurances were made that the two parties would re-negotiate a deal “in line with market based on health and 2021 performance” in February or March.
The 28-year-old has accumulated 22 interceptions since being taken in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“We are excited to have gotten this done and we are looking forward to continuing improving with X and his teammates on a day-to-day basis,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said Sunday.
On July 27, the Baylor product requested a trade. Flores made it known that he did not want to part with Howard. The frustration began over Howard’s unhappiness with the contract that he signed in May of 2019. Miami signed cornerback Byron Jones to a more lucrative deal last offseason, making Howard the second highest paid cornerback on his own team.
Flores was asked if the updated agreement is enough to keep Howard happy through the duration of the contract or if it might be more of a short-term approach.
“We are excited to have X, he is obviously a very good player and a good teammate,” he said. “You can see that by the way his teammates support him. I am a one day at a time guy so that is how we are going to approach things. In any negotiation, I think compromise is important, which we talked about the other day. At the end of the day, we wanted both sides to be happy and we feel like that is the case right now and we will move forward.”
Howard’s representation, David Canter, issued the following statement.
“Want to thank Coach Flores, Chris Grier and Brandon Shore for doing something unexpected and difficult to say the least. Many times over the past 8 months we all did not expect anything to happen. The organization handled us with absolute class and professionalism.”
The Dolphins rescinded $93,000 in fines over Howard missing minicamp this offseason. Miami opens the regular season Sept. 12 on the road against the Patriots. Miami has the second best odds to win the AFC East — behind the Bills — according to Caesars Sportsbook.