Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard focused on getting better
In the bedlam of the Dolphins’ postgame locker room Sunday, a reporter asked defensive end Robert Quinn about his teammate Xavien Howard.
That bag might have just gotten bigger.
Howard is eligible for a contract extension come March, and the Dolphins might have to break records to lock him down long-term.
That was likely two weeks ago.
It’s nearly certain now, after four interceptions in the past two weeks.
Howard, the Dolphins’ third-year cornerback, was named the the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, becoming just the second Dolphins corner to win the award twice in his career.
Howard also won defensive POW for his two-pick game against the Patriots last December, when he dominated Tom Brady despite battling the flu.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday. “He does a good job in man-to-man and zone coverages. He’s got very good instincts, got very good ball skills. The interception he made against us last year and the one against the Colts this year were just two of the best plays a corner could make, getting in good position and then finding the ball late and making a good catch. He’s a play-maker.”
And he will be paid like one, either this offseason or the next.
Howard has one more year left on his contract that will pay his $1.3 million in 2019.
If the Dolphins and his agent cannot agree on a new contract by February 2020, they almost certainly would place the franchise tag on him, which would be a one-year tender likely paying in excess of $15 million.
Neither side wants it to reach that point. They would rather hammer out a long-term deal.
What would it take? Josh Norman is the league’s highest-paid cornerback, earning $15 million annually, but Howard might reset the market.