The Dolphins have signed cornerback Xavien Howard to a five-year extension worth $76.5MM, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Howard will collect $46MM in guarantees, per Schefter, and receive $51MM over the first three years of the deal, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
On both a total value and annual basis, Howard will now become the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history. His new deal with surpass that of Josh Norman, who signed a five-year, $75MM deal with the Redskins in 2016. While Howard will reportedly pocket $46MM in guarantees, those likely aren’t full guarantees. At present, Norman also holds the record for the most fully guaranteed money given to a cornerback ($36.5MM).
Miami is entering a rebuilding period, and it had been unclear whether the club wanted to extend its best defensive player in Howard, attempt to retain him via the franchise tag in 2020, or explore his trade market. Collecting assets for a shutdown cornerback may have been an option, but instead the Dolphins will keep the 25-year-old Howard around for the long haul.
Howard, the 38th overall selection in the 2016 draft, is coming off the best campaign of his three-year career. In 12 games, Howard posted a league-leading seven interceptions and graded as the NFL’s No. 19 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders, meanwhile, ranked Howard eighth in success rate, meaning he was extremely successful at stopping opposing receivers short of the sticks.
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