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Xavien Howard requests trade: I am just here so I don’t get fined

Mike Florio analyzes Nick Saban's recent comments about how he wanted out of the NFL when the Dolphins didn't land Drew Brees 15 years ago.

Cornerback Xavien Howard reported to training camp with the Dolphins on Tuesday morning. He avoided daily fines of $50,000. That is the only reason Howard is in camp, he said in a social media post Tuesday night.

Howard said he has requested a trade, and he sounds as if he will “hold in” until he gets a contract to his liking or a new home.

“I’ve given my heart and soul to the Miami Dolphins franchise since they drafted me in 2016 and want to make it clear that I love my teammates. They are my family,” Howard wrote on Instagram. “But what I’ve learned is that the business side of the NFL proves organizations don’t always have a player’s best interest at heart. My experience with the Dolphins the past few seasons has taught me that. In 2018 [sic], I signed an extension that I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand or feel comfortable with. I’ve played on that deal for two seasons and didn’t complain, but everyone knows I’ve significantly outperformed that deal. I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I’m given, shadowing the opposition’s best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I’m the second highest-paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.

“I want to clear up a few misconceptions about my situation. My agent, David Canter, and I have never once asked for a completely new contract. We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table -- like guaranteeing more money -- that we felt were win-wins for both sides. These were proposals of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed. That is why I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t feel valued or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I. That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy and have requested a trade. Until that happens, I am just here, so I don’t get fined and will handle myself like professionals do.”

Howard actually signed his five-year, $75.25 million extension with the Dolphins in 2019. He has a fully guaranteed salary of $12.075 million this season. But his $15.05 million average per season ranks sixth-highest, trailing even teammate Byron Jones’ $16.5 million annual average.

Howard led the league with 10 interceptions in 2020 and earned first-team All-Pro for the first time.

Howard, 28, has 22 interceptions and 55 pass breakups in 56 career games.