After being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dolphins, and spending five impressive campaigns with the franchise, Howard communicated his desire for a trade.
Xavien Howard: pic.twitter.com/CdeL70tUqh
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2021
In Howard’s mind, the Dolphins did not choose respect the ascension in his game year after year with their checkbooks, which he deemed a disrespectful gesture.
According to the All-Pro defender, his agent brought many proposals to Miami’s front office in order to guarantee Howard more money, that would also not hinder the team’s financial flexibility.
In his post, he also somewhat threw teammate and fellow cornerback Byron Jones under the bus.
While it’s not Jones’ fault that he makes more money than Howard, the latter communicated that he was a significantly better player than his counterpart on the opposite side of the field.
It’s not often that a player so publicly communicates the timeline of events and specific grievances with a franchise, and it’s interesting to get a window in Howard’s displeasure.
Despite all this, the Dolphins don’t owe Howard a trade, even though his comments will make it very difficult for him to suit up for them this year.
Howard showed flashes that he could be an effective player in the secondary for Miami early on, but his coming out party happened against the New England Patriots in a Monday Night Football game in 2017.
The Dolphins were going nowhere that season, but stunned the powerhouse Patriots by winning the game at home.
In that contest, Howard picked off Tom Brady twice, during New England’s first drive in the first and second half.
He used that late-season performance to catapult himself into one of the better cover corners in the NFL in 2018, and made his first Pro Bowl.
At that point, the Dolphins had a decision to make.
They could’ve taken the hardline stance that the New York Jets took with safety Jamal Adams after three NFL seasons.
Gang Green decided to send Adams packing rather than agree to an extension.
However, realizing Howard’s potential and worth to the team, the Dolphins front office decided to give Howard $46 million guaranteed ahead of the 2019 season.
— Xavien Howard (@Iamxavienhoward) December 8, 2020
At the time that deal was agreed to, the former Baylor Bears prospect was the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.
The extension was to span for five seasons.
In his Instagram post, Howard referred to that extension as something “I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand or feel comfortable with.”
There’s no way to know whether that’s actually how he felt at the time.
But if we take his statement at face value, it’s not the Dolphins’ fault that the player didn’t fully comprehend what this meant for his future compensation.
When an organization forks out enough money to make a player the highest paid at their position, usually there aren’t any complaints from the athlete’s side.
Howard had to have known that his compensation was not going to be a topic of conversation each and every season, even if he played so well that the extension looked to be a bargain shortly after signing.
The cornerback probably saw his football career flash before his eyes when he only was able to suit up for five games in 2019, which might be driving his stance now.
However, he wasn’t keen on giving back money when he couldn’t stay healthy in that season, and Miami is justified in not bending over backwards to acquiesce to his demands now.
The Dolphins aren’t morally obligated to jettison Howard out of town for a negotiating a team-friendly deal, but probably have to in order to keep the locker room together this season.