Dolphins agree to restructure CB Xavien Howard's contract

Xavien Howard has resolved his contract dispute with the Miami Dolphins.

The All-Pro cornerback and the club agreed on a reworked contract Sunday, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported. Howard, the NFL's interceptions leader in 2020, is staying in Miami, after all.

As part of Howard's new contract, the CB had $1 million in Pro Bowl incentives and $2.5 million in additional incentives added to his 2021 year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. With all minicamp fines rescinded, Howard can make upwards of $16,285,294 in 2021, which would make him the league's highest-paid CB this upcoming season.

In addition, Howard gets $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses and $100,000 in workout bonuses moved to base salary and guaranteed money in 2022. His $12.975 million salary in 2022 is guaranteed for injury and will be fully guaranteed by the first day of league year, Rapoport added; $6.775 million of the CB's 2022 salary is fully guaranteed at signing.

Howard also received assurances from the club that it will renegotiate a new deal in late February or early March following the 2021 season in line with market based on the cornerback's health and 2021 performance, Rapoport reported.

Just one full season in a five-year extension signed in 2019, Howard made waves in South Beach this offseason by not reporting to mandatory minicamp and incurring over $93,000 in fines. After a year in which he led the league in picks with 10, Howard sought to be paid his worth, even more so than he already was; the longtime Dolphins corner wasn't even the highest-paid at his position, ceding that mantle in 2020 to Byron Jones, Miami's prized offseason acquisition.

Howard reported to training camp in late July and soon publicly requested a trade if the Dolphins did not redo his deal, writing that he wasn't "happy" in Miami and the organization had rejected his "win-win" proposals that would guarantee him more money. At least two playoff teams were reportedly interested in acquiring Howard after his request. Still at camp, Howard had been held out of practices with what was described a minor ankle injury, but recently returned to camp action.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores never intimated that Howard would not be on the team in 2021, going as far to say late this week that the franchise did "not want to trade X." Ultimately, they did not.

"We're excited to have gotten this done," Flores told reporters Sunday shortly after the agreement was reported, per NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe. "In any negotiation, compromise is important. We want all sides to be happy."

Howard's side appeared happy in the aftermath. The cornerback's agent, David Canter, tweeted, "Want to thank Coach Flores, Chris Grier and Brandon Shore for doing something unexpected and difficult to say the least. Many times over the past 8 months we all did not expect anything to happen. The organization handled us with absolute class and professionalism."

Entering his sixth season in Miami, Howard is coming off a career year. The Dolphins CB led the league in interceptions (for the second time) with 10 and passes defensed with 20. He also made his second Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro for the first time.

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