Xavier Howard has been one of the Miami Dolphins’ best defensive players for quite some time, so it makes sense the franchise would want to keep him. The team is doing just that, as they signed him to a new five-year contract worth $50,691,177 in fresh money, according to a report by Field Yates. Yates also notes that the amount of money guaranteed in Howard’s new contract is the most an NFL cornerback has ever earned. It seems like a complete 180 degree turn from where Howard was with the franchise last offseason.
Reports surfaced last spring that Howard wanted a trade with the Dolphins. It’s a movement that has gained momentum, with several teams apparently showing great interest. Former Miami Coach Brian Flores was adamant at the time that the Dolphins had no interest in moving the former Baylor star.
“We don’t want to trade X”, Flores said in August, via NFL Network reporter Cameron Wolfe. “Write that down. He’s a very good player. He’s a big part of the squad. We don’t want to trade him… Talks are progressing. You get what you want out of it… As long as everything the world is ready to compromise, we can do something.”
Days after Flores delivered that quote, Howard signed a restructured initial deal that added more money and guarantees, including incentives.
He ended up starting 16 games for the Dolphins in 2021 and had five interceptions, the third-highest single-season total of his career. He was also credited with 50 tackles, one shy of his career high in a single season, and 16 pass deflections, which is the second most he has had in a single year.
In 2020, Howard had the best year of his professional career, leading the league in pass breakups and interceptions. In 16 games (all starts), he recorded 51 total tackles (40 solo), one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, 10 picks and 20 deflections, en route to his first All-Pro selection and second nod look at the Pro Bowl.
For his career, Howard has 191 combined tackles (148 solo), six tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles (one recovery), 22 interceptions and 55 pass breakups.
The Dolphins selected Howard with the 38th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft. Howard joined Baylor in 2012 and spent his freshman year in a redshirt. He played a starring role in 2014 and over the last two years of his career he had 93 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, 23 pass deflections and nine interceptions.
Dean Straka contributed to this report.