Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, arguably the best defensive back in football, formally went public with a bombshell request Tuesday night: Trade me, because I don’t feel valued or respected.
Xavien Howard requests trade from the Miami Dolphins
The blockbuster development came just hours before the team’s first training camp practice of the year. Howard has long been upset about his contract situation but has largely kept those complaints in-house.
Until now. In a statement provided to Pro Football Network, Howard told the world that he’s asked for the Dolphins to trade him, apparently convinced that they would not make the contract adjustment that he has wanted since last year while represented by another agent.
Here is Howard’s statement in full:
“I’ve given my heart and soul to the Miami Dolphins franchise since they drafted me in 2016, and want to make it clear that I love my teammates.
“They are my family. But what I’ve learned is that the business side of the NFL proves organizations don’t always have a player’s best interest at heart.
“My experience with the Dolphins the past few seasons has taught me that. In 2018 I signed a contract extension that I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand, or feel comfortable with.
“I’ve played on that deal for two seasons and didn’t complain, but everyone knows I’ve significantly outperformed that deal. I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I’m given, shadowing the opposition’s best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I’m the second highest-paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.
“I want to clear up a few misconceptions about my situation. My agent David Canter and I have never once asked for a completely new contract.
“We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table — like guaranteeing more money — that we felt were win-wins for both sides. These were proposals of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed.
“That is why I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t feel valued, or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I.
“That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy, and have requested a trade.
“Until that trade happens I am just here so I don’t get fined, and will handle myself like professionals do.”
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Xavien Howard’s current contract
In the spring of 2019, Howard signed a contract extension negotiated by then-agent Damarius Bilbo that was billed as the largest of all time for a cornerback.
But the topline — five years, $75.2 million — was misleading. It included just $27 million in guaranteed money and was quickly seen to be under-market. Howard fired Bilbo in 2020, not long after the Dolphins signed free agent cornerback Byron Jones to a five-year, $82.5 million deal that included $46 million in guarantees.
Howard tied the franchise record in 2020 with 10 interceptions and made his second Pro Bowl. He skipped OTAs and the mandatory minicamp but reported to the Dolphins Tuesday for the start of training camp. If he had not, the Dolphins would have fined him $50,000 per day.
Earlier Tuesday, before the trade request, Flores spoke to reporters about Howard’s decision to report to camp.
“We’re excited to work with X and all of the players that are here,” Flores said. “Those conversations with X, his representation, Chris [Grier], myself; those will, like always, will be internal, confidential and it will always be that way. We’ll keep it that way with all players. But we’re excited to have him. I’m excited to work with him. He’s a great player and I look forward to building over the course of training camp.”
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