Dolphins and Xavien Howard Agree on Modified Contract

The Dolphins and Xavien Howard have agreed to modify his contract and end a “hold in” of sorts that saw Howard recently ask for a trade from the Dolphins.

From various reports the Dolphins did what I, and many others, had kind of expected at times. They didn’t materially change anything with the contract outside of adding incentives and then guaranteeing next years salary, a year where his status was never really in doubt in the first place. The $3.5 million in incentives will give him the opportunity to earn over $16M this year, which was the benchmark he was looking for to be the highest paid corner on the team.

Per Armando Salguero here is the incentive breakdown:

Howard has been a Pro Bowl player in two of the prior four seasons so this is a fair incentive that he likely has a chance to earn. Since the Pro Bowl is often about how known you are he probably has a better than 50% chance since his name was in the news so much this offseason. I believe that this should count against the cap as a LTBE this year.

The playtime incentives are also attainable. He has his the 70% threshold, three times in the last four seasons and the 80 and 90% thresholds two times. It sounds as if these have a team kicker attached to them for cap purposes. Generally these are easily attained (it requires improvement in one of the worst areas for the team the prior year) and are only used to prevent the charges from hitting the cap. The Dolphins only had around $8 million in cap room so this was probably a necessity.

The team guaranteed $6.775 million in 2022 that was already guaranteed for injury and agreed to injury protect the rest of his salary and let it become fully guaranteed early next year. It is a safeguard for Howard but in reality has very little chance of making a major difference other than for headlines.

The Dolphins apparently also agreed to reopen discussions next year on a market contract. I have no idea what that means as teams often makes some assurances that mean very different things to the player and the team and then lead to more headaches down the line. My guess would be that they will be open to doing this again if he plays well.

Because this is a renegotiated deal the Dolphins will be forced to include an extra $710,294 on the salary cap for the 17th game. Prior to this that would have counted as a benefit and not impacted the cap. My assumption is that Howard’s cap charge will increase by $1,710,294 this season.