Miami Dolphins Xavien Howard Season Outlook

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New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Xavien Howard was a second round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was brought in by the Miami Dolphins with the expectation of being a starting corner back at some point. He has more than exceeded those expectations.

Last season Howard was part of the Dolphins where he played played 15 games. He was a big part of the defense, but his performance compared to years past were underwhelming. He was not bad. He just did not play to the level you would expect from a player of his caliber. He only had one interception and 12 passes defended. Those are his lowest marks since 2019 when he only played five games. He ended his season on a high note by being voted into the Pro Bowl, but he did not deserve to be selected for that.

Howard would be a $10 million cap hit with $33 million in dead money for the Dolphins if he was to be released. He is not going to be released. His contract ends at the end of 2027. After this year, his contract takes a leap.

Expectations for Howard and this Dolphins’ secondary are high entering 2023. The Dolphins had multiple injuries on the back end of their defense last year. Howard only missed a couple games, but was underwhelming in the games he played. Byron Jones retired after not playing a game last year. Jalen Ramsey is taking his spot, which is huge for Howard. With Ramsey holding down the other side of the field, it should allow the Dolphins to send Howard some help if he does not return to his former self. The hiring of Vic Fangio should do a lot for Howard’s production. He has a history of playing well, and he is paired with one of the best defensive minds in football. 

With Vic Fangio leading the defense now, Howard should consistently find himself in a position to succeed. Before last year he had been one of the best corners in football. After last season it is hard to know what to expect from Howard. He is starting to age a little bit though. He is 30 years-old. His play is bound to dip some eventually. The start of that may have been last year. His play is on the shoulders of Ramsey. If he is able to lockdown one side of the field, it will free up Holland to help Howard over the top. If Ramsey can not hold down one side of the field, then it could be a long year for Howard.