Dolphins open minicamp amid Xavien Howard contract questions


DAVIE, Fla. — All-Pro cornerback and reigning NFL interception leader Xavien Howard wants a new contract from the Miami Dolphins, and there is no guarantee he will attend the three-day mandatory minicamp starting Tuesday.

The Dolphins have had talks internally about Howard’s contract, coach Brian Flores said. But even Flores sounded unsure when — or if — Howard would be arriving for the camp that serves as the team’s final official work before training camp next month.

“Quite honestly, I don’t think, I’m not sure he’s going to be here today,” Flores said.

Howard led the NFL with 10 interceptions last season — only two other players in the league had more than five. The 2016 second-round draft pick helped Miami reach the 10-win mark for the third time in the last 17 seasons.

When he signed that deal, he was the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. The 27-year-old is now not even the highest-paid corner on the Dolphins. Byron Jones, who got an $82 million, five-year contract last year, holds that distinction.

“I think it’s pretty clear that this is a contract situation,” Flores said.

It also may be a complicated one.

Howard is due to make about $12 million in base salary this season, the second year of a five-year, $75 million extension that could run through 2024. Howard already having gotten one extension from Miami makes his case a bit different than some other contract issues that the Dolphins have addressed of late, including the $39 million, three-year extension linebacker Jerome Baker got over the weekend.

Flores said this being a renegotiation of an extension is part of what makes this unique.

“We love X,” Flores said. “Let me just go ahead and say that right now so you guys can make sure you write that. We love him. He’s very productive. He’s a team player. He’s an important player on this team. But again, unique situation. We want to keep him here.”

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