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Xavien Howard to sign 5-year, $76.5M extension

Xavien Howard has reset the market for NFL cornerbacks.

The Dolphins have locked up the fourth-year corner to a five-year, $76.5 million extension with $46 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed. That makes Howard, a 2018 second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler, the highest-paid player at his position. The team later confirmed the deal.

The move continues a busy offseason for the Dolphins, who created cap space by trading quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Robert Quinn and releasing wide receiver Danny Amendola, guard Josh Sitton and defensive end Andre Branch, among others.

Conversely, the Dolphins re-signed wide receiver DeVante Parker, acquired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, drafted Christian Wilkins in the first round of the 2019 draft, traded for quarterback Josh Rosen and have now extended Howard, who was entering the final year of his rookie deal with a base salary of $1.28 million.

The 25-year old Howard tied for the league lead with seven interceptions despite playing just 12 games last year. (He missed the final four games with a torn meniscus.) He has been a full-time starter for Miami since breaking into the NFL in 2016. After an injury-plagued rookie season, Howard registered a strong sophomore campaign and began to establish himself as a star.

He has 11 interceptions and 25 passes defensed over the past two seasons. Per Pro Football Focus, Howard allowed the lowest passer rating (62.6) among cornerbacks last season. Three years after arriving as a second-round pick out of Baylor, he's a long-term linchpin for a defense that figures to improve under first-year coach Brian Flores.

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