The standoff involving Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins could unfold in a number of ways over the next few weeks, until one trade is included.
This would obviously be the most drastic scenario as it would mean the departure of the team’s most talented player just a year after leading the NFL with 10 interceptions and finishing third in the vote for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
But it’s not like the Dolphins have been afraid of making any major moves in recent years.
RECENT HISTORY OF THE DOLPHIN TRADE
In the past five years alone, the Dolphins have traded seven players who had already made the Pro Bowl or who would be doing the Pro Bowl with their new team.
This honor roll is made up of Branden Albert, Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The final four players were traded in 2019, the first year of the Chris Grier-Brian Flores partnership atop the Miami Dolphins’ football operations hierarchy.
None of those players were traded due to a contract stalemate, although the looming prospect of Tunsil’s second contract may have played a (albeit small) role in the Dolphins’ acceptance of what has come to pass. turned out to be a very good offering from the Houston Texans.
The Fitzpatrick swap came on the player’s request in light of his differences with Flores, and the move showed the Dolphins won’t hesitate to swap a player, no matter how talented, if there is. a problem that overshadows everything else.
ONE HOWARD POSSIBILITY
And, yes, it is possible that that could be the way this Howard Saga plays out.
After changing agents last season, it was always believed that Howard would want a new contract because of his performance last year and how he went from the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL to even not at the top of the squad after signing Byron Jones last off season.
The contract issue came to the fore on the first day of the minicamp this week when Flores admitted that was the reason the 2016 second-round pick wouldn’t be in the squad’s facilities all week.
Howard and his agent, David Canter, were convinced enough of their position that they fined him up to just over $ 93,000 for skipping the only mandatory part of the offseason schedule.
On performance alone, there’s no doubt Howard should be the team’s highest-paid cornerback, as his performance in 2020 – when he tied the franchise record for interceptions – ranked. among the most dominant of all the Dolphins’ defensive players.
THE POSITION OF THE DOLPHINS
But there’s the other side, of course, and it’s the reality that it wasn’t until two years ago – May 9, 2019, to be precise – that Howard signed a five-year contract extension. years.
The other reality is that Howard is under contract until the 2024 season and the Dolphins have nothing to do.
If the Dolphins hold on, Howard’s only recourse is to simply not show up to training camp, but he would face fines again.
The Dolphins could also possibly agree with Howard’s position and rework his contract, but they could see this as setting a dangerous precedent for any player who goes beyond his contract.
The Dolphins are obviously a better team with Howard on the roster, so they’ll have to decide what becomes more important.
Then there’s the storyline where Howard ends up dropping the idea of ââan immediate contract restructuring, but as part of the storyline we look at the strong possibility of having a disgruntled player on the squad – and a key one. to that.
THE FITZPATRICK EXAMPLE
The Dolphins didn’t want that with Fitzpatrick in 2019 when he was in the second year of a four-year plus an option rookie deal, so they fired him. Would they have the same approach with Howard?
It is obviously difficult to predict what will happen.
Canter declined to comment on his player’s situation throughout the offseason and Flores made clear both sides of the issues from the Dolphins’ perspective this week when he explained how much he values ââHoward, but also how much he values ââHoward. this was a unique situation.
Something must have given way in the minicamp, and it was Howard who made the bold move. Things will get more serious once training camp begins and we get closer to any resolution.
All we know is that while trading Howard would be a dramatic step for the Dolphins, it’s impossible to rule out that possibility.