Miami Dolphins Hope Xavien Howard’s Replacement Is Already on Their Roster

The Miami Dolphins have very high hopes for Cam Smith in Year 2, mentioning him as a possible replacement for Xavien Howard in 2024.

INDIANAPOLIS — Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Wednesday that cutting Xavien Howard “was a tough one” and left the door open to bringing Howard back if the four-time Pro Bowler finds the market for his services isn’t robust.

But if Howard leaves and the Dolphins can’t sign a replacement as good or better, there won’t be panic in Miami Gardens.

Why? The Dolphins are optimistic that second-round pick Cam Smith will have a Year 2 leap after a largely inconsequential rookie season.

Miami Dolphins Bullish on Cam Smith

Smith logged just 20 defensive snaps in 2023, and late in the year, he was behind even undrafted rookie Ethan Bonner on Vic Fangio’s depth chart.

But with Fangio gone, Smith’s biggest roadblock to playing time is as well. And Grier is still optimistic that the young defensive back will become an important part of Miami’s defense.

“We’re very excited about Cam,” Grier said during a break at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We watched his preseason stuff, he played very well in the preseason. Got banged up at the end and came back.

“At the end of the day, learning Vic’s system really, you look at his history of guys with young players, it takes a little bit. He worked hard. By the end of the season, we were really excited about it.”

Count Jalen Ramsey — no fan of Fangio — among those excited.

“He was saying how he loves Cam’s game and thinks he’s gonna be a good player,” Grier said of Ramsey. “We’re very strong in our belief in him.”

“… But he’s gonna have to compete and earn it, you know, Kader [Kohou] is not gonna give it up to him. So it’ll be good. Obviously, we’ll be bringing in some other people here too, and then, and maybe X is back, who knows?”

The Dolphins informed Howard that they’re making him a post-June 1 cut that saves millions in 2024 cap space.

KEEP READING: Why Miami Dolphins’ Chris Grier Shut Down Jaylen Waddle Trade Rumors

Howard suggested after the season he wasn’t open to taking a pay cut, but if he returns to the Dolphins, that’s exactly what would have happened, albeit in a roundabout way.

“We had a long discussion and, and you know, he understood it was a business decision, and at the end of the day, I just felt it was right for him to have this opportunity for his agent to go see what’s out there for him,” Grier said. “But didn’t close the door. We said we’re gonna stay in communication as the process goes and see what happens and left the door open for him possibly coming back here too.”

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We need a QB with an arm that can move around, THAT’S what we need

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