Xavien Howard wanted to make Pro Bowl since rookie year.
Chris Grier is “very confident” Xavien Howard will not be traded this offseason.
And he hopes to re-sign right tackle Ja’Wuan James, a pending free agent.
So Grier, the Dolphins’ general manager, answered some big questions during his meeting with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Wednesday.
But the most revealing part of Grier’s remarks were what he didn’t say:
That Ryan Tannehill and Cameron Wake will be Dolphins in 2019.
Grier on Tannehill, who is due $18.7 million this season: “We had a really good talk last weekend trying to figure it out. The coaches have done a really good job. Coach [Chad] O’Shea has been really good with coach [Jim] Caldwell, talking to Brian [Flores] and I. We’re getting there, and once we make a decision organizational-wise, we’ll move forward.”
The Dolphins are widely expected to cut Tannehill this spring if they cannot trade him.
Wake turned 37 last month, and while he still is a good player, might not fit the team’s vision in the Dolphins’ latest reboot.
“Right now with the roster with Brian, we’re going through everything,” Grier said. “He’s been a Dolphin, he’s been a tremendous player for us. So we’ll see where that is right now and we’ll have conversations with him and his agent obviously.”
Wake, whose 98 career sacks rank second in franchise history, said late last season that he wants to return to Miami in 2019.
Grier left little doubt that Howard, the Dolphins’ lone Pro Bowler, will be back next year.
Howard wants to be the highest paid corner in league history (which means he wants a contract paying him in excess of $15 million annually), but is coming off his second knee injury in three seasons.
That has led some to speculate that the Dolphins will shop Howard. His value will never be higher, and a high draft pick could help them land a top quarterback.
But Grier on Wednesday essentially shot down that theory.
“I’m very confident he’ll be [on the roster],” Grier said. “He’s been in the building, working out and getting in shape again after the Pro Bowl. But he’s doing good. Just hanging around him, he wants to be a Miami Dolphin and we want him to be a Dolphin.”
Between Howard and James, Grier and vice president of football administration Brandon Shore might be writing some big checks in the coming weeks.
James is expected to be the most coveted right tackle in free agency. He and Adam Gase did not get along, but Gase’s departure upped the odds of James remaining with Miami.
Talks with James’ agent should begin this week, Grier said. James recently got married, and the team wanted to give him some personal time before returning to business.
“We drafted him here, and he’s a good, young player,” Grier said. “We’d like to have him here. And we’ll see what the market [is] and what he’s looking for as well.”
Grier continued: “It’s one less box you have to check, but at the end of the day the organization will do what’s best for the Dolphins. He’s a good guy. He’s worked hard since he’s been here. He’s been a good teammate. We’ll see what happens.”