The biggest decision of this off-season will be what the Miami Dolphins will do or not do with Xavien Howard.
Xavien Howard finished the 2023 on the sideline. When the team needed him the most, he wasn't available. The reasons and the blame do not matter. Howard can be great but if he can't be available it doesn't matter.
Howard did not have a great 2023 season for the Dolphins. With Jalen Ramsey on one side, Howard was thrown at more often and his inconsistent play showed that he is getting to the point in his career where he is no longer as effective on the edge.
Aside from injury, Howard has money working against him as well. His contract restructure pushed some guarantees into 2024 and now, the CB will count $25 million against the cap. He will give Miami a dead-money hit of $23 million if he is released.
Howard won't be traded. His contract will not make that possible. Where Howard's future lies, however, is with Chris Grier and the Post-June 1st release designation. Miami, should they designate him as such, would save $18.5 million and eat $7 million.
It's a lot of money but the Dolphins have to make a decision on Howard and it will not be an easy one.