The Dolphins met with cornerback Xavien Howard to discuss a new long-term deal, according to ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe. Howard is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal this year, so a fresh contract could make sense for both sides.
Howard is expected to command at least $15MM annually on his next contract, but it’s unclear if Miami is willing to go that high. Some have speculated that Howard could be a trade candidate, but the Dolphins say he’s staying put.
“Yes, I’m very confident that he’ll be there. Xavien has been in the building. He’s coming back, working out and getting in shape again after the Pro Bowl,” GM Chris Grier said. “He’s doing good. We’ve been hanging out around him. He wants to be a Miami Dolphin and we want him to be a Dolphin.”
If the Dolphins can’t hammer out a deal with Howard, they can wait until next year and potentially cuff him with the franchise tag. With club control beyond ’19, the Dolphins aren’t necessarily in any rush.
In a more pressing matter, the Dolphins want to hang on to right tackle Ja’Wuan James, an impending free agent. Unfortunately for Miami, things could get costly if he hits the open market.
Quality tackles are hard to come by, and Wolfe hears buzz at the combine that James could command upwards of $10MM/year. Two agents tell Wolfe that if they were representing James, they’d shoot to surpass the five-year, $47.5MM deal that Lions right tackle Rick Wagner signed two seasons ago. Beating that mark would make James the second-highest-paid right tackle in the NFL behind the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lane Johnson. The Dolphins should know more this week when they meet with James’ reps.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.