Dolphins 'Don't Want to Trade' Xavien Howard Despite Request, HC Brian Flores Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 6, 2021

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 03: Cornerback Xavien Howard #25 of the Miami Dolphins attends, but does not participate in practice drills during Training Camp at Baptist Health Training Complex on August 03, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Howard is being held out of practice for precautionary reasons, as ongoing contract discussions with the team continue. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said Friday "talks are progressing" with Xavien Howard after the All-Pro cornerback requested a trade in July.

"We don't want to trade X. Write that down," Flores told reporters. "He's a very good player. He's a big part of the team. We don't want to trade him."

Although Howard said in his initial statement he wanted a trade because of unhappiness with his contract, he didn't rule out staying in Miami after arriving at training camp last week.

"That's up to the Dolphins," the two-time Pro Bowler said. "I'm just here with my teammates and enjoying every moment with my teammates."

The 28-year-old Baylor product is entering the second season of a five-year, $75.3 million contract with Miami.

His deal includes $12.1 million in total cash for 2021, which ranks 12th among corners, per Spotrac. The Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White leads the position at $18.3 million.

Howard is coming off a 2020 campaign where he led the NFL in interceptions (10) and passes defended (20) to go along with 51 total tackles across 16 appearances. He received a strong 87.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, suggesting his play on tape matched his terrific numbers.

The only thing that has held him back in his career is knee injuries, which have forced him to miss 24 games over his five years with the Dolphins.

Regardless, he's in the upper echelon of NFL cornerbacks. His ability to lock down some of the league's top wide receivers in single coverage helped the Miami defense find success last year, ranking sixth in points allowed (21.1 per game).

Losing him via either trade or contract holdout would be a major setback for the unit. The Dolphins will try to find a resolution before they open the regular season Sept. 12 with a road game against the AFC East rival New England Patriots.