The Dolphins remain committed to signing Xavien Howard to a long-term contract — preferably before the start of the season — even if general manager Chris Grier acknowledges he is “a little bit, but not really” concerned about Howard’s series of knee injuries.
“It would be great” to get a deal done in the next six months, Grier said Monday. “We’ve been talking to his agent back and forth a little bit, and they’ve been very good to work with. Xavien wants to be here and wants to be here long-term. So yeah it would be important because I think it could send a message, which we want, is that we want our good young players to be here.”
Grier added that the Dolphins are “working on trying to get something done,” but “whether it gets done or not who knows? There’s a lot of things that goes into that, getting those decisions done. But yes if we could get it done it’d be great, but who knows?”
Howard missed nine games as a rookie and four more in 2018 due to meniscus damage in each of his knees.
He reportedly had his left knee scoped late in 2018, causing him to miss the last month of the season. Still, he healed in time to play in the first Pro Bowl of his career, and will presumably be full-go when the team’s offseason conditioning program starts next week.
“Our doctors are very confident that what he’s had is not something that’s going to be a long-term effect to him,” Grier said. “And really Xavien practiced at the end of the year last year, came back and it was probably us holding him out more, the staff. And you’ve got to give Adam [Gase] a lot of credit on that as well, not throwing him out there just to go out there to be out there. He wanted to make sure he was doing best for his career going forward.
“Xavien wanted to play and Adam was like, ‘No, it’s not worth it right now. We’ll go out and play and let the young kids play and do it,’” Grier added. “No, it’s not anything we’re really concerned about.”