Xavien Howard

Police Case On Shooting Involving Xavien Howard Closed

A story made headlines yesterday when it was reported that Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard was mentioned in a police report concerning a shooting at his former agent Damarious Bilbo’s house, but it looks like it’s going to turn out to be a nothing-burger.

The Dunwoody, Georgia police department announced Monday that they’ve closed the case, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. According to the report yesterday somebody fired a shot into Bilbo’s house, and although Howard wasn’t suspected as the shooter police did request to interview him several times but he declined. Bilbo no longer represents Howard, but he negotiated his big five-year extension with Miami in 2019.

Jackson does not that while the police department said the case is now inactive, they could reopen it in the future if more information comes to light. It’s a good thing this drama has been mostly cleared up, since Howard has enough on his plate this offseason.

He’s since grown unhappy with that aforementioned extension and feels underpaid, and is reportedly expected to ask for a trade if the Dolphins don’t renegotiate it. Miami took calls on Howard around last trade deadline, but they were understandably seeking a hefty sum and nothing got done.

Howard was a first-team All-Pro this past season and legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He’s become arguably the NFL’s top ballhawk, leading the league with ten interceptions in 2020. A knee injury cost him most of the 2019 season, but he was an All-Pro in 2018 too and is still only 27.

Even with the recent drama, there will likely be no shortage of suitors if the Dolphins do decide to trade him. Wherever he’s playing in 2021 though, it sounds like he’s going to want to be the highest-paid corner in the NFL.

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Xavien Howard Appears In Police Report Concerning Shooting At Former Agent’s Home

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard appears in an official incident report concerning a shooting at the home of his former agent, Damarius Bilbo, which happened in June 2020. Howard’s name is misspelled in the report, but it is clear that he is the person being referenced (though his name appears without explanation or context).

Pro Football Talk first obtained the report from Dunwoody (GA) authorities several days ago. In it, we learn that on June 29, someone fired a bullet into Bilbo’s home. Bilbo was not home at the time, but his wife and 12-year-old son were. The son told police that he saw a gold sedan pull up to the front of the house, that he saw a black male wearing a hoodie exit the vehicle and walk onto the lawn, and that the person jumped back into the vehicle after a shot was fired through a window.

Luckily, no one was injured, and the investigation is ongoing. Howard’s name appears on the “Additional Name List” on the second page of the report, but as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets, Howard is not suspected of firing the gun. Jackson adds in a full-length piece that Howard is also not believed to have been in the vehicle. However, police have requested interviews on several occasions, which Howard declined.

Howard declined the first interview request back in August, saying that he was dealing with COVID-19. The most recent request was made within the last few weeks.

Howard’s attorney, Darren Heitner, said, “Xavien was not involved in this incident and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.” At this point, that certainly seems accurate, as Howard’s only connection to the incident appears to be his former business relationship with Bilbo and his association to other individuals who were listed as “Additional Names.” Both the Pro Football Talk report and the Jackson article provide further info if you want to dive deeper.

Bilbo represented Howard until the two had a business dispute in October, but it was Bilbo who negotiated Howard’s five-year, $75.3MM extension in 2019, which made Howard the highest-paid CB in the league at the time. Howard just turned in the finest season of his career and was in the running for Defensive Player of the Year honors, and as such, he is seeking a renegotiation of his contract (even though he is under club control through 2024). Jackson wonders if the Dolphins will use this incident as a reason to reject such a renegotiation, but recent reports have indicated that Howard will ask for a trade if he does not get a raise.

As Jackson writes, it’s unclear if the NFL will investigate this matter. For now, the Dolphins, Bilbo, and Dunwoody police have declined to comment.

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Deshaun Watson Won’t Veto Many Teams, Dolphins Favorite To Land Him?

The Deshaun Watson saga will likely take at least several more twists and turns before it’s finally resolved, and we’ve got a couple of new updates to pass along. The Texans are still insisting they have no plans to trade the star quarterback, but that hasn’t stopped teams from trying.

When/if the Texans finally relent to Watson’s trade demand, he does have some leverage in the form of a no-trade clause that can prevent him from getting dealt somewhere he doesn’t want to be. But it sounds like Watson’s main priority is getting out of Houston, and he won’t be too picky about a new destination. “Let me be very clear about this: I think Deshaun Watson is going to be open about where he’s traded to. I don’t think he’s going to veto too many teams. He wants to go anywhere other than the Texans,” Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said recently, via Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

That makes it sound like unlike Matthew Stafford, who reportedly wanted to go play for Sean McVay and the Rams, Watson will just be happy to be anywhere else. There was a report last week that Watson would prefer the Jets to the Dolphins, but clearly he doesn’t feel all that strongly about it. That certainly could make facilitating a deal a lot easier. Additionally, it looks like the Dolphins could be emerging as a favorite to land him despite their recent commitment to Tua Tagovailoa.

Jackson and Beasley write that the “sense among league power brokers at this week’s Senior Bowl” is that “Miami is Watson’s likeliest destination.” Going further, one source told them that “Miami is seen as the front-runner behind the scenes.” The Dolphins have a boatload of draft capital and also a young quarterback they could trade, although there have been some reports that Houston might not be that interested in Tagovailoa.

If the Texans don’t want Tua, Jackson and Beasley float a scenario where the Dolphins package picks with shutdown corner Xavien Howard, who they write is “expected to ask for a trade” if he doesn’t get the new contract that he’s seeking. There are a lot of moving parts here, and we should know a lot more soon so make sure to check back.

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Xavien Howard Wants New Contract

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard just earned the second Pro Bowl bid of his career and is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also wants a new contract.

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Howard’s camp will ask the team to renegotiate the five-year, $75MM contract that Howard signed with the ‘Fins in 2019. Although the contract made Howard the highest-paid CB in the league at the time, he is now the sixth-highest-paid corner, one spot behind teammate Byron Jones and his $16.5MM average annual value. Plus, Jones’ $46MM in full guarantees dwarfs Howard’s $27.2MM, and Howard is looking to strike while the iron is hot.

The 27-year-old is leading the league in interceptions this season (nine), and while he was limited to just five games in 2019, he also led the league in picks in 2018 (despite playing in just 12 games that year). Pro Football Focus considers him the best corner in football this season, with a stellar 90.0 grade in coverage.

From that standpoint, it’s easy to see why Howard is looking for a contract more akin to the market-topping five year, $105MM pact ($71.2MM fully guaranteed) that Jalen Ramsey recently pulled down from the Rams. But that’s the nature of the beast, particularly at a premium position like CB. One player sets the market and another player comes along, sometimes hours later, and resets it. But the first player generally doesn’t get another bite at the apple with four years left on his existing contract, and Howard is under club control through 2024.

That said, Miami knows what it has in Howard, and Salguero says it’s possible the team tries to appease him. It’s currently unclear if the Dolphins even know about Howard’s intentions at this point, and while they certainly don’t want to set a precedent by renegotiating a deal that has so much time remaining, Howard is obviously a game-changing talent.

The ‘Fins did field trade calls for Howard before this year’s deadline, but they put an enormous price tag on him. If negotiations go awry, they could theoretically look to deal him and would have no issue finding suitors, but they appear to be a team on the rise and surely don’t want to lose their best defensive player when they hope to be contending for titles.

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Dolphins Set High Asking Price For Xavien Howard

The Dolphins have received at least one trade inquiry on cornerback Xavien Howard, but it would take a “Laremy Tunsil type” offer to get a deal done, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. This jibes with previous reports we’ve heard — the Dolphins may be willing to listen, but they want a serious haul for the fifth-year star.

The Tunsil deal saw the standout left tackle and wide receiver Kenny Stills shipped to the Texans last year in exchange for two first-round draft picks, a second-round choice, and more. While Howard holds significant value, Tunsil was a special case. There’s a dearth of quality talent at the left tackle position, and teams were willing to pay a fortune for Tunsil.

The Dolphins extended Howard in April of last year, giving him a $15MM/year deal that runs through 2024. There’s no guaranteed money after this year, so the Dolphins could theoretically trade him today and absorb a modest $4.1MM cap hit. The 27-year-old is due base salaries of $12.1MM and $12.4MM in 2021 and ’22 before a slight drop to $12MM in ’23 and ’24.

Howard, who missed 11 games last season, led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2018 and already has 16 picks in his four-plus-season career. In that span, only Titans safety Kevin Byard has more INTs. So far this year, he’s tied for the NFL lead with four INTs (with Kendall Fuller of WFT and J.C. Jackson of the Patriots).

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Trade Notes: Harris, Texans, Geno, Browns

After trading Yannick Ngakoue, the Vikings appear to be reopening the door to dealing their franchise player. Anthony Harris is again available, per Albert Breer of SI.com. The Vikings discussed at least one tag-and-trade deal involving the 2019 breakout player-turned-tag recipient this offseason but moved forward with Harris as a starter for the third season. The price was believed to be a Day 2 pick at that point. Harris has more than half of his $11.4MM tag salary due. Harris joins safety mate Harrison Smith, tight end Kyle Rudolph and left tackle Riley Reiff as available Viking veterans.

Here is more from the trade market, with five days to go until the deadline:

  • We have heard trade rumors surrounding the bulk of the Texans‘ receiving corps. The Packers, among others, inquired about Will Fuller; Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks have also come up in talks. The Texans are prepared to part with any of their wideouts — for the right offer, of course. Every Texan except Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Laremy Tunsil and right tackle Tytus Howard is available, Breer adds. Fuller and Kenny Stills are on expiring contracts; Cobb is signed through 2022; Cooks through ’23.
  • NFL INT leader Xavien Howard has surfaced as a name to watch ahead of the deadline. While the Dolphins have fielded calls on the fifth-year cornerback, they have not received a firm offer, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The Dolphins also appear dead-set against dealing Howard, with Jackson adding that it would likely take multiple first-round picks (an unrealistic ask) for Miami to consider a deal. Howard is in the first season of a five-year, $75MM contract.
  • The Bengals traded all-time sack leader Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks, and teams are wondering if the franchise’s No. 2 all-time sacker (Geno Atkins) is available. Teams have contacted the Bengals on the 11th-year defensive tackle but have been told he is not being traded, Breer notes. Atkins is signed through 2022, and although he has voiced frustration about his role, the Bengals will hang onto the perennial Pro Bowler.
  • In the thick of the AFC playoff race at 5-2, the Browns may still be dangling Olivier Vernon. Although the veteran defensive end came off Cleveland’s trade block this summer, the Browns shopped him for a while. They may be doing so again, with Breer indicating the 30-year-old edge rusher is being viewed as available. However, the Browns would move to replace the veteran opposite Myles Garrett. They were in on the first Nkagoue sweepstakes in August but lost out to the Vikings. In the final year of his contract, Vernon does not have a sack this season.
  • Entering their Week 8 game, the Panthers may be straddling the buyer-seller line at 3-4. However, they are still in a rebuilding phase in Matt Rhule‘s first season. Any buyer’s deal Carolina makes would be for a player controllable beyond this season rather than a rental who could help the team secure a wild-card spot, Joe Person of The Athletic writes (subscription required).
  • Prior to signing Mohamed Sanu as injury insurance this year, the 49ers finished second to the Patriots for Sanu at last year’s deadline. The 49ers offered the Falcons a third-round pick for Sanu, Breer notes, but the Pats gave up a second-round pick. San Francisco’s subsequent Emmanuel Sanders addition ended up being more impactful, and Sanu is currently training for his next opportunity.

Dolphins Receiving Trade Inquiries On Xavien Howard

Xavien Howard has intercepted a pass in four straight games, and those four picks are tied for the NFL lead. The veteran cornerback has rebounded from an injury-marred 2019.

Although the Dolphins are 3-3, they have received trade inquiries on their standout corner. At least two teams have called the Dolphins about Howard, Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report. While Howard would not mind being traded, according to the Herald, the Dolphins made the interesting move of sending out a statement they are not shopping him (Twitter link via Jackson).

Multiple other media outlets indicated the Dolphins were, in fact, entertaining offers for Howard. Considering the Dolphins are still in a rebuilding phase, having just given Tua Tagovailoa the reins, listening to proposals would make sense. The current regime, however, did extend Howard in April 2019. His $15MM-per-year deal runs through 2024. However, no guaranteed money remains on the contract after 2020. The Dolphins would take only a $4.1MM cap hit by trading the 27-year-old defender, who is due base salaries of $12.1MM and $12.4MM in 2021 and ’22. His 2023 and ’24 prices dip below $12MM, increasing potential trade value.

The Dolphins gave Byron Jones a then-cornerback-record contract in March and drafted Noah Igbinoghene in the first round a month later. The team has not been shy on dealing key players, with Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick being shipped out last year. No first-round pick would likely come Miami’s way in a Howard swap, though.

Howard, who missed 11 games last season, led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2018 and already has 16 picks in his four-plus-season career. In that span, only Titans safety Kevin Byard has more INTs.

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Dolphins Activate CB Xavien Howard

The next time the Dolphins take the field for practice, they’ll finally have Xavien Howard leading the defense. The team announced today that they’ve activated the cornerback off the reserve/COVID-19 and active/physically unable to perform lists.

This is a significant step for Howard, who was limited to only five games last year before suffering a knee injury. That ailment forced him to undergo surgery, but the 27-year-old had been rehabbing at the Dolphins’ facility since June. Howard was formally placed on the PUP late in July, and a recent COVID-19 test forced his placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Now, Howard will be looking to take another step forward following a 2018 campaign where he earned his first Pro Bowl nod. That season, the former second rounder compiled 35 tackles, 12 passes defended, and a league-high seven interceptions in only 12 games. Howard has been with the organization since 2016, appearing in 40 total games.

The Dolphins will be hoping that Howard will team up with free agent addition Byron Jones to form one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. The team has a mixed bag of depth behind that duo, including Jamal Perry, Nate Brooks, and Nik Needham.

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AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Newton, Bills

With the Dolphins for just 18 games, Minkah Fitzpatrick elaborated on the difference of opinion he had with his second NFL head coach. Brian Flores, per Fitzpatrick, preferred he play a hybrid strong safety/linebacker role and only tried him as a deep safety in one practice last summer. This only came after Fitzpatrick asked Flores to see more time in coverage, Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report notes. After the Dolphins’ Week 1 blowout loss to the Ravens, in which Fitzpatrick was used more in coverage — albeit after limited practice time as a deep safety in Flores’ scheme — the 2018 first-round pick asked for a trade. Flores, Dunne adds, attempted to convince Fitzpatrick he was a key part of Miami’s future. That did not end up working. The Dolphins traded Fitzpatrick to the Steelers, with whom he became an All-Pro, for a first-round pick that turned into tackle Austin Jackson.

We had a difference of opinion in my skill set and what he thought I could do and what I thought I could do,” Fitzpatrick said, via Dunne. “It was going to get tough for me to show something to somebody they were choosing not to see. They didn’t give me the opportunity to show it, even though I had film that showed it. The losing and all that stuff? If I was put in the right position and we’re losing — because of decisions people made upstairs — it is what it is. I can only control how I play. That didn’t affect me at all. It was just a fact that I was being used the wrong way.”

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Shoulder and foot injuries helped lead Cam Newton out of Charlotte after nine seasons. But the former MVP quarterback said he is “full go” as he begins practices with the Patriots, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Newton, 31, sounded more cautiously optimistic about staying fully healthy, Perry writes, after being injured for much of the past three seasons. But going into the padded portion of New England’s training camp, Tom Brady‘s likely successor said he feels “amazing.”
  • Since Dolphins players reported to camp, Xavien Howard has landed on both the active/PUP list and the reserve/COVID-19 list. Howard underwent knee surgery in December. While Howard was running at the team’s facility this summer, per ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe, he does not figure to see much practice time before Week 1. This makes the standout corner’s availability for the Dolphins’ opener against the Patriots uncertain.
  • Another Dolphin uncertain for Week 1: Preston Williams. The Dolphins are easing their UDFA success story back into action after his ACL tear, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes, adding that Williams’ Week 1 status is in doubt. Williams went down in Week 8 last season, ending a strong start to his career. He caught 32 passes for 428 yards. With Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out, Williams will be critical to Miami’s passing attack.
  • Formerly a key Bills wide receiver, Robert Foster now appears on the verge of being cut or traded. The third-year Bills wideout will need a strong camp to make the team, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Buffalo drafted Gabriel Davis in Round 4, and the rookie will join the recently re-signed Isaiah McKenzie as a backup to the team’s Stefon DiggsJohn BrownCole Beasley starter trio. After Foster averaged 20 yards per catch as a rookie — in a 27-reception, 541-yard, three-TD season — he caught just three passes in 13 games last season.

Xavien Howard Will Not Face Suspension

The Dolphins have extensive resources devoted to the cornerback position, having added impact free agent Byron Jones and used a first-round pick on Noah Igbinoghene. The team will be able to pair those two with its top holdover corner throughout the season.

Xavien Howard, who saw a domestic battery charge dropped this offseason, will not be suspended, Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post reports. The five-year veteran defender was arrested in December for an alleged incident involving his fiancee.

In Howard and Jones, the Dolphins have two of the three highest-paid corners in the league. The former has spent his entire career in Miami. Howard has not played since last October. The Dolphins shelved him on IR in October after he sustained a knee injury. Howard, however, did not suffer a ligament tear.

Howard was a Pro Bowler in 2018, having led the NFL with seven interceptions. Months later, the Dolphins made him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback with a five-year, $76.5MM extension.

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