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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.

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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.

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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.