Xavien Howard Open to Staying with Dolphins Amid Contract Dispute: 'It's Up to Them'

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 1, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JULY 31: Cornerback Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins takes to the field during Training Camp at Baptist Health Training Complex on July 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Disgruntled Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard isn't giving up on his front office just yet. 

Asked on Saturday about his previous trade request, the All-Pro noted the Dolphins could resolve things by restructuring his current contract. 

"It's up to them," Howard said

Despite leading the league with 10 interceptions last season, Howard's contract features $12 million in nonguaranteed money in 2021, making him the 12th-best-paid cornerback in the NFL. 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Xavien Howard: <a href="https://t.co/CdeL70tUqh">pic.twitter.com/CdeL70tUqh</a>

"I don't feel valued, or respected by the Dolphins," Howard wrote on Instagram earlier in the week. "Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I."

As Miami enters year two of the Tua Tagovailoa era at quarterback, Howard is looking to be paid like the defensive cornerstone he played like in 2020. Especially after Miami went 10-6 and finished second in the AFC East last season. 

Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler:

"Howard and his agent, David Canter, have proposed that Miami strengthen guarantees in 2021 or move money from future years into this year to satisfy the player. Miami has not moved on those offers, but coach Brian Flores said he hopes Miami keeps discussing the issue with Howard."

This is no longer a team in rebuilding mode. It's a team ready to win. As much as Howard would enjoy staying in South Florida, he won't sacrifice his prime to do so for what he's being paid. 

"Sure, I hope so," Howard said when asked about remaining in Miami on a new deal. "It's a process. I'm hearing this and hearing that. Right now I'm just here, out here supporting the team."

The 28-year-old was non-committal about playing in the preseason before a new deal, though that's not exactly a sign of things to come. It's typical for players to stay on the sidelines when angling for a new deal rather than risk an injury that could tank their value—and there's certainly no point risking anything before the regular season. 

Howard is open to sticking with Miami. Now the Dolphins have to give him a reason to stay.