Xavien Howard made waves when he publicly requested a trade from the Miami Dolphins earlier this week, but the All-Pro cornerback expressed a vague willingness to stay with the team while addressing the situation Saturday (July 31).
"That's up to the Dolphins," Howard told reporters (h/t CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr). "I'm just here with my teammates and enjoying every moment with my teammates. ... I hope it gets better. It's a process. I'm hearing this and hearing that, but nothing is getting done right now. Right now, I'm just here — out here every day, supporting the team and out here working."
"Howard said he and Dolphins coach Brian Flores did talk earlier in the week, but it 'didn't go nowhere,'" Kerr added. "He hasn't committed to playing in any preseason games, and shot down any rift between him and [Dolphins cornerback Byron] Jones — who makes $1.45 million more in average annual salary than Howard."
Miami made Jones the NFL's highest-paid cornerback — Spotrac relays the deal as five years, $82.5 million with $54.375 million guaranteed — by signing the former Dallas Cowboy during free agency in March 2020.
These comments, even his preference to stay in Miami, are cohesive with Howard's original statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday (July 27):
And to Howard's point that he has "significantly outperformed" his current contract, there are plenty of statistics that prove how invaluable he is to the Dolphins' secondary:
Xavien Howard: 4 games with 0 yards allowed in coverage in 2020 (1st among CBs)— PFF (@PFF) July 28, 2021
Who should trade for the All-Pro CB? pic.twitter.com/rABcXyTbxt
Miami drafted Howard in the second round (No. 38 overall) of the 2016 NFL draft out of Baylor. After a Pro Bowl campaign in 2018 — an NFL-most seven picks alongside 35 total tackles across 12 starts — the Dolphins signed Howard to a contract extension in May 2019. That deal, placing him in Miami through 2024, is worth up to $75.25 million (h/t Spotrac), but Howard seeks more guaranteed money.
The 28-year-old bounced back in the biggest way last season. He started all 16 regular-season games for 10-6 Miami and finished with a league-leading 10 interceptions and 20 passes defended — earning his first All-Pro nod and claiming the No. 2 spot on Pro Football Focus' cornerback rankings.
The Dolphins are scheduled to begin their preseason Aug. 14 in Chicago before their first regular-season game at New England on Sept. 12.