Following reports of All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard's unhappiness with the state of his contract with the Miami Dolphins and much speculation about rather the star ballhawk would be traded as a result, Howard has officially requested a trade from the team in an Instagram post, saying the following:
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.
Howard's five-year, $76.5 million extension was actually signed in 2019 and made him the highest-paid player at his position at the time. Since then he has made First-Team All-Pro and led the league in interceptions in 2020 with a whopping 10 picks. Despite this, Howard is now the NFL's sixth highest-paid cornerback, behind even his own teammate Byron Jones who Miami signed to a five-year, $82 million contract on March 21, 2020. Howard addressed this as well:
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.
Howard continued to clarify what he wanted from the Dolphins regarding his contract situation:
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. That 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.
Howard ended the post by saying:
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.
Howard has shown up for both the first two days of Miami's training camp so far. Players will now be fined $50,000 for every day of training camp they miss under the new collective bargaining agreement of the NFL.
Howard was drafted by the Dolphins with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2016 draft. He has played in 56 of 80 possible games since then, making a total of 191 tackles and 22 interceptions. Howard faced domestic violence charges following an incident with his fiancée in December of 2019, but the charges were dropped.
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