As we sit in early July, the Xavien Howard situation is front and center on the minds of Miami Dolphins fans all around the world. Will he or won’t he show up for training camp? Will he or won’t he be on the field in Week 1 of the NFL season when Miami travels to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. Will he or won’t he be traded at some point?
A lot of questions and no answers at this moment in regards to the Xavien Howard situation. That’s right, the situation. And for those who have been living under a rock or don’t fully grasp the situation, let’s make it clear what the situation is.
On May 9, 2019, Xavien Howard signed a 5 year, $75.25 million contract extension with the Miami Dolphins. With $27.1 million guaranteed at signing and $46 million in total guarantees. (Numbers provided by ProFootballTalk.com)
At the time, this made Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback in the league now; in 2021, Xavien Howard isn’t the highest-paid cornerback on his own team and the 6th highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. And Xavien is unhappy about this and wants his contract re-negotiated.
And because of that, Xavien held out of mandatory minicamp in June, and it is unclear if he will show up for training camp or the start of the 2021 NFL season.
So, who will blink first? Do the Dolphins cave or will Xavien show up and play under his current contract?
The situation the Dolphins are faced with is if they cave and rip up Howard’s deal and give him a new contract, it sets a bad precedent in that it shows other players and agents that if you play for the Dolphins, the contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and after a good season you can whine and complain and get a better deal out of them.
That would open pandora’s box and something the Dolphins want to avoid. Being an ATM for every player on the roster when they feel like they are being “disrespected” by their contract or outplayed their current contract.
Let me backtrack for a second and focus on the word “precedent” because that has been thrown around a lot regarding this matter. The Dolphins don’t want to set a “precedent” by giving into Howard here as it will be a bad look and open up a can of worms they may not be able to control down the road.
And I agree it would be a horrible look. It really would be on all levels. But I think fans and the media are looking at this from the wrong angle. This isn’t the “precedent” Dolphins fans, and the media should be looking at right now.
I think the Dolphins set a precedent a couple of years back when they traded an unhappy Minkah Fitzpatrick after 2 games in 2019, his second season in the NFL. The organization gave in making that trade because Minkah was unhappy and didn’t want to be here.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) June 30, 2021
So, if Xavien Howard is unhappy with his situation in Miami (basically his money situation), then the organization may be following the precedent they set with the Minkah Fitzpatrick situation of just moving on from a disgruntled and unhappy star player.
The situations are different yet similar at the end of the day. Xavien Howard wants more money, and Minkah Fitzpatrick was unhappy with his role on the field and with the coaching staff. The end result is both players were unhappy regardless of how they got to that unhappy place.
Chris Grier and Brian Flores decided it was better to move on from Minkah even though it meant losing a great player in the secondary and was hurting the team and on the field. They decided that outweighed having someone on the roster who was clearly unhappy and didn’t want to be there.
Could they follow that blueprint again with Xavien Howard?
The precedent they set with Minkah tells me that may be how this entire situation eventually plays out in the end.
Let me be clear; I am in no way advocating the Dolphins trade Howard. Losing him makes the team worse on the field. Losing him hurts their chances of winning games and making the playoffs in 2021. In a perfect world, the Dolphins and Howard work something out to make this matter go away.
But, the precedent set in Miami in 2019 with the Minkah Fitzpatrick situation was, if you are unhappy, voice your displeasure and make it known to the world you are unhappy. Then Chris Grier and Brian Flores will accommodate you, remove you from the organization, and send you packing.
So I think fans and the media shouldn’t be looking at a new precedent the Dolphins may set, but rather should be looking at a former precedent they set in 2019 with how this all may play out.
Will Grier and Flores follow that precedent they set in 2019? That is the answer we wait for.