Dolphins coach Brian Flores says Xavien Howard not in minicamp over 'very unique' contract situation

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Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard did not attend mandatory minicamp Tuesday and is not expected to be there, making him a holdout, ESPN's Cameron Wolfe reported. 

Howard, who signed a five-year contract extension in 2019, is seeking a renegotiation of his deal. Head coach Brian Flores called it a "very unique" situation. 

Flores: Howard contract unique situation

Flores spoke with reporters Tuesday morning about the holdout. 

"It's pretty clear this is a contract situation, which we've talked about internally," Flores said, via ESPN. "X is a little bit of a unique situation. He was extended and now we're talking about a potential renegotiation after one year. Those turn into longer conversations. We understand that. We've obviously had a lot of talks and conversations about that and we'll continue to have those and keep them internal, but it's a very unique conversation."

Howard, who turns 28 next month, also skipped voluntary OTAs for the Dolphins, who are +3000 to win the Super Bowl at Bet MGM. He can be fined $15,515 for missing the first day and a total of $93,085 for missing all three days, per Wolfe. Flores told reporters they like having Howard and want to keep him in town, but again used the "unique situation" explanation.  

Xavien Howard is in a
Xavien Howard is in a "very unique" contract situation, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Howard signed massive deal in 2019

Howard's five-year, $75.25 million deal signed in 2019 made him at the time the highest-paid cornerback at $15.05 million per year. The extension covered 2019, the final season of his rookie deal, and 2020, the first of the extended contract. 

"After one year, it's honestly something that hasn't been done before," Flores said, via ESPN. "Not saying we're drawing a line in the sand, but different players set the market every year."

His rookie deal was for an average $1.5 million per year. The market for cornerbacks has jumped since he signed his second deal. 

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Why does Howard want a new contract? 

Howard is no longer the highest-paid cornerback in the league after new deals were signed in the past year. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey signed a five-year, $100 million extension in September 2020 to take the highest-paid spot. 

Marlon Humphrey (Ravens), Tre'Davious White (Bills), Darius Slay (Eagles) and Dolphins teammate Byron Jones all signed larger contracts with more money on average per year than Howard. 

Howard led the NFL in interceptions last year with 10, the most by a player since 2007, and finished third in AP Defensive Player of the Year voting. In a solid one-to-one comparison, he outplayed but did not out-earn his teammate Jones, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal in March 2020. 

The downside for Howard, a two-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro, is he has missed 24 games over five years because of knee injuries. He played all 16 games last season, but played only five in 2019. 

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