Xavien Howard is not likely going to attend mandatory camp this week due to his contract situation and that is going to be a problem.
Brian Flores told media members this morning that he had not seen Xavien Howard at today’s opening of the final mandatory off-season workouts. Howard’s absence leaves little doubt that he wants to renegotiate his contract and that is going to put the Dolphins in a difficult situation.
Fans are already taking sides in all of this but they are not the ones who are making the money decisions within the organization.
The Dolphins are indeed in a unique position and this is the first real challenge that Brian Flores and Chris Grier are facing together. Giving Howard a new restructure to his deal will open the doors for other players to do the same. What happens if recently re-signed Jerome Baker has a huge 2021 and 2022? The door to a better deal will be open for him to ask for more money.
Flores and Grier are not taking a hardline approach to this, at least not publicly. They are aware of what he wants and Flores made several quips to the media today that they “Love X” to the point he told the media to “write that down”.
It really isn’t a matter of loving him or not when the reality is, sadly, that Howard signed a new deal in 2019 and has played exactly two seasons of that contract. It runs through 2024. Howard is also not being very open-minded here either. Considering that the salary cap dropped for the first time even, waiting until next year makes more sense when the cap is expected to skyrocket.
Howard should get more money but not this year, he should wait until after this season when his guaranteed portions are all over with. Miami can then convert more of his contract to guaranteed money and Howard will get more in his bank account.
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Missing the mandatory sessions of workouts isn’t really a big deal but it sets up a potential holdout from training camp that will begin at the end of July. The Dolphins will have to work with Howard’s camp to get him onto the field but it doesn’t appear that will be easy to do, at this point.
This is not the first time that the Dolphins and Howard have had issues. There were questions about his commitment to the Dolphins prior to him signing his current contract and there were some mentions of him wanting to be traded as late as the last off-season. None of that speculation from mainstream media made it any further than that but there have been enough whispers over the years to think there may be something there.
Howard is an elite talent but he still has a way to go before we start talking about the Hall of Fame. He has had one great season, one very good season, and another decent year but the Dolphins did him right in 2019 by extending him coming off an injury and they paid for it with Howard missing most of that season. He rebounded perfectly in 2020 but he should realize that his best chances for getting more money will come next year, not this one. On the other hand, his play in 2020 may not be easily replicated and he knows that. He may not have the same kind of season next year and that would hurt his chances. So again, this is a tough spot for both sides.