Report: Sources expect Xavien Howard to ask Miami Dolphins to renegotiate his contract

Xavien Howard and DeAndre Hopkins

The Miami Dolphins could have some unexpected contract trouble with a report indicating that star cornerback Xavien Howard is expected to ask for his contract to be renegotiated.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald indicated that the increased salaries across the NFL have diminished Howard’s status as the league’s best-paid cornerback, with some rumors suggesting a possible trade.

“But here’s the background: Howard has gone from the highest-paid cornerback in the league (when he signed the five-year, $75 million extension in 2019) to the sixth-highest paid,” Jackson wrote. “He will be 11th among cornerbacks in cash payments in 2021.

“As a result, Howard plans to ask the team to renegotiate his contract in the coming months, as colleague Armando Salguero reported during this past season and as a source has consistently told us for months.”

During the 2020 season, Howard was dominant at one corner for the Dolphins, leading the league in both interceptions with 10 and passes defended with 20. Compare that to his 2018 Pro Bowl season when he had seven interceptions and 12 passes defended.

In 2019, Howard was limited to just five games because of injuries, while the start of his 2020 season was interrupted by his placement on the reserve/COVID-10 list during training camp.

One of the rumored trades involving Howard has put him in a potential deal for disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, though the Dolphins have offered no hints that Howard will be dealt.

The fact that Howard’s fellow starting cornerback Byron Jones is making more money could be sparking the rumored request, though speculation has only been offered up to this point.

Renegotiating Howard’s contract would have an effect on the team’s salary cap, while trading him away would deplete an improving defense. Trying to find a better solution is the challenge facing the Dolphins’ front office in the weeks and months ahead.