HomeFootball DirtDolphins set to part ways with cornerback Xavien Howard

Dolphins set to part ways with cornerback Xavien Howard

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Being part of two expensive cornerback tandems in Miami, Xavien Howard did not have much time to work in the second one. Less than a year after the Dolphins paired him with Jalen Ramsey, they have decided to let go of Howard.

The Dolphins have notified Howard that he will be released, as reported by NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager. Drafted in 2016, Howard is the longest-serving player for the Dolphins and will soon become a sought-after free agent.

The release will take place at the beginning of the league year, per NFL.com. The Dolphins are expected to designate Howard as a post-June 1 cut, similar to what they did for Byron Jones in 2023. This designation will allow the Dolphins to save $18.5MM this year. Without it, their savings would only be around $2MM.

Although teams no longer need to wait until June to make post-June 1 cuts, the Dolphins cannot release Howard now and designate him as such. Therefore, they must wait until the start of the 2024 league year to release him and plan for a roster without Howard.

A top ballhawk of his era, Howard has made 29 interceptions and led the league in interceptions twice. Turning 31 in June, Howard will now explore opportunities outside Miami and is expected to attract significant interest. The cornerback market may narrow with the Bears likely using the franchise tag on Jaylon Johnson and the Chiefs considering it for L’Jarius Sneed.

Howard’s performance under Vic Fangio was not his best, with only one interception and a completion rate of 62.9%. Despite improvement in his passer rating-against number, Pro Football Focus ranked him 98th among corners last season. However, Howard has been one of the better corners in previous years, earning rewards from the Dolphins along the way.

Having signed a lucrative extension in 2019, Howard became disgruntled when the Dolphins gave Jones a more lucrative deal in 2020. After seeking a new deal in 2021, Howard requested a trade, which the Dolphins initially accommodated. They later restructured his contract before the 2021 season and further rewarded him in March 2022 with a new contract. Although Howard’s performance did not meet expectations, he became indispensable to the team, particularly with Jones’ absence in the 2022 season.

Earlier this offseason, Howard stated he was unwilling to take a pay cut if asked by the Dolphins. While it’s uncertain if they requested one, the organization is now moving on from Howard, closing a chapter on a long-standing cornerback saga.

More updates to follow.


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