Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard not present at Dolphins' mandatory minicamp

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post
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DAVIE, Fla. — On the first day of Dolphins mandatory minicamp, it's more clear than ever that the club has an Xavien Howard problem.

Miami coach Brian Flores said Tuesday morning that he has not seen Howard.

"I'm not sure he's going to be here today," Flores said. "I expect him to be here but I have not seen him yet. It's pretty clear this is a contract situation."

When a practice open to the media began on Tuesday, Howard was indeed not present.

Howard has four years left on a five-year, $75 million contract extension he agreed to in 2019. Now sixth in average annual salary for cornerbacks, Howard wants a raise.

"This is a little bit unique," Flores said. "He was extended so we're talking about a renegotiation. A very unique situation with a potential renegotiation after one year (into a new deal) so those turn into longer conversations and we understand that. We obviously have had a lot of talks."

Howard, 27, led the NFL with 10 interceptions last season and was selected to his second career Pro Bowl. He ranks sixth among cornerbacks in average annual salary, trailing the likes of the Los Angeles Rams' Jalen Ramsey ($20 million) and teammate Byron Jones ($16.5 million).

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) warms up before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Flores said the organization generally wants to keep conversations internal. But he said every situation is different and that this type of renegotiation "honestly hasn't been done before. Not saying we're drawing a line in the sand but different players set the market every year."

Flores said that reporters should include in their report that "We love X" and "we want to keep him here." But as it relates to Jones making more than Howard, Flores said that "the market is set differently every year."

Howard can be fined no more than $93,000 if he were to sit out the entire minicamp.

This week, the Dolphins rewarded linebacker Jerome Baker with a three-year contract extension worth about $13 million a season. Still unsigned to longer deals are tight end Mike Gesicki and edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, each entering the final year of their contracts.

"We want to keep everybody," Flores said. "We would if possible. There is a salary cap. So I think you mentioned Mike and Ogbah. We love those guys. They've both been productive. And we'll continue to have conversations with their representatives. There is an understanding if we can get them done we'll get them done. If we can't then we can't. We'll always work to do what's best for the organization."

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