Miami Dolphins rookie Cam Smith could have a hand in Xavien Howard's future, in a couple of years

The time for Xavien Howard to leave the Miami Dolphins is coming, it may not be next year but rookie Cam Smith could play a part in his eventual departure.

Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) takes to the
Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) takes to the / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Non one wants to talk about Xavien Howards eventual exit from the Miami Dolphins. One of the best cornerbacks in Dolphins history still has a lot in the tank and after a poor 2022 season, Howard stands poised to put in an All-Pro season in 2023.

For Howard, his future is all about earnings and where the Dolphins need to allocate money to. The Dolphins have invested a lot of money in the position over the years with Howard's extension, Byron Jones' monster contract, and the off-season trade for Jalen Ramsey that also came with a new contract.

At some point, the Dolphins are going to have to figure it all out and 2nd round rookie Cam Smith might be the immediate answer to it all.

This year, Smith will jump into the Vic Fangio system full speed and if he excels, we could see him start opposite of Howard with Jalen Ramsey sliding inside where he can make a potentially bigger impact. For the Dolphins, however, the success of Smith could be the eventual catalyst for a decison on Howard.

2024 offers the Dolphins their first "out" on Howard's contract. Miami will see Howard's cap hit balloon to almost $26 million in 2024 but releasing him post-June 1st will save Miami $18.5 million. They will eat $7.4 million. If they cut him without a post-June 1st release they will eat all but $2.8 million.

Miami's real out for Howard, however, realistically comes in 2025 when Miami would save $16.5 million after June 1st.

This is important because Howard's current deal does not make it easy for Miami to skip out on his contract without utilizing the post June 1st designation and even then, until 2026, the Dolphins are still going to take somewhere in the neighborhood of $6-7 million in dead money when and if they do.

Now, back to Cam Smith's role in all of this. If Smith pans out and excels in the system, it will allow the Dolphins to utilize one of those outs for Howard and while 2024 is likely going to be too early, 2025 is a year to earmark as a possibility.

Smith will play a big role in Miami's defense. He is the future at the position and could be the present by allowing Fangio to use Ramsey in different ways than strictly on the edge. If Smith works out, the Dolphins have a lot of options and at the very worst, his rookie deal would be ending around the same time that both Ramsey and Howard both see theirs come to a close as well.