Dolphins are working on a new deal for Xavien Howard, but should they?

Speaking to the media at the NFL Combine, Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team is working on a new deal with Xavien Howard. Maybe they shouldn’t be.

Xavien Howard is the best player Miami has on defense, but not by a huge margin. Howard was joined by a host of rising stars. Brandon Jones, Jaelan Phillips and of course Jevon Holland. Now here we are again trying to make Howard happy.

Last offseason, there were exit threats, a holdout threat, skipped voluntary training sessions, and even an alleged trade request. Miami gave in. Brian Flores made it clear that he wanted Howard and the Dolphins to move money so he could be the highest-paid player on the team.

Now, a year later, Howard is no longer the highest paid player. He’s a few $100,000 less than Byron Jones. Apparently, the dolphins will not go through these troubles again.

According to Omar Kelly via Twitter, the Dolphins are in talks with Howard about a new contract, something Kelly says the team told him they would do off-season. At some point it has to be enough.

Howard is electric and he can change the outcome of a game. We saw that last year when he decided the game against the Patriots on opening weekend. 2021 wasn’t as good as 2020, but we knew he wouldn’t match those numbers again. Howard is still very good and so giving him a new contract doesn’t make as much sense as just trading him.

I know this isn’t popular opinion and I’m sure the regular shouts from the audience in the comments section will beg me to just walk away, but it’s true. Miami is investing heavily in a 28-year-old corner that will still have a very good season or two, but probably not another “great” season. In my opinion, he has crossed the abyss of his career.

Once a corner starts losing its game, things move quickly. We’ve seen others do this, including Darrelle Revis. There is a short life span on the fringes and Howard wanting more money is no bad thing for him. Miami wanting to give him more isn’t a bad thing, but at some point the Dolphins need to realize there are other positions that need upgrading and Howard has a contract to play on that isn’t an underpaid act. Howard is making big money in 2021, over $16 million.

While I think there’s a lot to like about Howard and far better to have him here, the fact is that Miami has him under contract and we’re tweaking or changing him for the second year in a row to keep him happy keep. If ever there was a situation to ride the fence, this is one of them. I am not okay with spending more money on a man who is already under contract to make him happy. On the other hand, he makes the defense better.

If the Dolphins try to lower his cap hit this year and maybe throw him more guaranteed money, that’s not a bad thing. If that’s just supposed to make him happy, well, maybe it is. If the Dolphins work out a deal for him we can assess him when it’s done, at least for two years, before he wants another change.

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