Xavien Howard wants to take his talents away from South Beach.
The Dolphins cornerback and Miami have been at odds this offseason, with rumors of a trade or a new contract coming the 28-year-old’s way at some point.
On Tuesday, Howard made it clear that he no longer wants to play in Miami, releasing a lengthy statement explaining his position and painting a picture of dissatisfaction with the Dolphins and their front office over contract issues.
Howard’s statement in its entirety:
I’ve given my heart and soul to the Miami Dolphins franchise since they drafted me in 2016, and want to make it clear that I love my teammates.
They are my family. But what I’ve learned is that the business side of the NFL proves organizations don’t always have a player’s best interest at heart.
My experience with the Dolphins the past few seasons has taught me that. In 2018 I signed an extension that I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand, or feel comfortable with.
I’ve played on that deal for two seasons and didn’t complain, but everyone knows I’ve significantly outperformed that deal.
I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I’m given, shadowing the opposition’s best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet I’m the second highest paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.
I want to clear up a few misconceptions about my situation. My agent David Canter and I have never once asked for a completely new contract.
We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table – like guaranteeing more money – that we felt were win-wins for both sides. These were proposals of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed.
This is why I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t feel valued, or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I.
That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy, and have requested a trade.
Until that trade happens I am just here so I don’t get fined, and will handle myself like professionals do.
Named a first-team All-Pro in 2020, Howard is due more than $12 million in guarantees in 2021, but it’s the last season of his contract that has guaranteed money, making him an option to be cut after the year. At the time, Howard’s extension was record-setting.
His running mate (and the actually highest-paid cornerback on the team), Byron Jones, signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Dolphins before the 2020 season.
Howard also led the league in interceptions in 2020.
Should a trade be in Howard’s future, expect a number of teams looking for defensive back help to be in on him. If it’s not, expect an awkward situation to continue unfolding in Miami.