Miami Dolphins resolve contract dispute with Xavien Howard

The Miami Dolphins have resolved their contract dispute with All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, keeping the star defender in the fold for the 2021 NFL season and likely beyond.

Howard formally requested a trade at the start of training camp over frustrations regarding his salary. While he signed a lucrative extension in 2019, Miami later made Byron Jones a higher-paid cornerback. Entering the 2021 season, Howard wanted a renegotiated deal that better reflected his value to the team.

Miami wanted him back, but NFL teams rarely cave to contract demands when a player is locked in with the team for the next four seasons. But, fearing a potential holdout and recognizing Howard’s importance to the defense, the Dolphins are rewarding him.

What should the Houston Texans do with Deshaun Watson?

Check out where the Miami Dolphins land in our 2021 NFL defense rankings

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the adjusted contract now includes a $1 million Pro Bowl incentive and $3.5 million in reachable incentives this season. Miami also guaranteed his $12.975 million salary for injury in 2022, with $6.775 million guaranteed at signing.

Even more importantly for the two-time NFL interceptions leader, the organization promised to revisit his contract next spring. If he is healthy and still playing at an All-Pro level, the two sides will discuss a long-term deal that betters reflects the rising salaries for top NFL cornerbacks.

Will the Miami Dolphins make the playoffs? Find out in our 2021 NFL playoff projections

Howard recently returned to practice, a final step to resolve some differences between the two sides. With the 6-foot-1 defensive back happy with his situation and ready to take the field, Miami’s defense is poised to take a step forward this fall.