The Dolphins are squarely in the midst of a rebuild, but their decision to hand Xavien Howard a massive new contract is a step towards respectability.
There’s a very real chance that the Dolphins will be the worst team in the NFL this season. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any high-end talent. Xavien Howard is one of the best cornerbacks in football. That’s exactly why the Miami front office elected to pay him like one.
The Dolphins have spent most of the offseason getting rid of veteran players they didn’t want to make part of their corps moving forward. They are clearly committing to Howard being a big part of their present and future.
Per Adam Schefter, Howard’s new deal will pay him up to $75.5 million over the next five years. Perhaps more importantly, the former second round pick is receiving $46 million in guaranteed money. By NFL standards, this deal has a ton of security for the player. The contract also happens to make Howard the highest paid corner in the NFL for the time being.
This is a big deal for the Dolphins, but it’s being met with a lot of optimism around the league. Locking up 25-year-old Pro Bowlers tends to work out well for teams. Miami might not be close to building a contender, but Howard is the right age to still be at the top of his game when their roster does reach some measure of maturity. It’s really hard to argue with this deal based on how Howard performed last season.
Howard gives the Dolphins a lot of value on the field, but he’s also an asset to the sort of culture they want to build in Miami. He’s one of those players who is universally admired by his teammates.
It’s safe to say that signing Howard was a big part of a massive infusion of young talent to the Dolphins roster today.
There’s not a lot to dislike about this deal from the Dolphins perspective. Some might quibble about making Howard the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, but he won’t hold that distinction forever.
The bottom line here is that the Dolphins need to do everything they can to tie down players who are good now, but are still young enough to be important parts of their future. Locking a 25-year-old cornerback who just made the Pro Bowl on a five-year deal is solid cap management by the Miami front office.
2019 is probably going to be a long season for Dolphins fans, but they should be happy about keeping Howard in the fold for the foreseeable future. He’s exactly the sort of player they should be building around.