Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Xavien Howard’s deal not quite what it seems to be

Xavien Howard may believe he cashed in big time with his new extension with the Dolphins, but Mike Florio explains why the cornerback may end up regretting the deal he signed in the coming years.

The quid pro quo for getting the scoop on a new player contract includes hyping the deal in an effort to make it look better than it is. And that’s definitely what those who got first word of Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard’s deal did.

While it’s true that his five-year, $76.5 million extension has a new-money value of $15.3 million per year (which those who got the scoop breathlessly reported), the total value from signing of the six-year contract, when including the $1.285 million he was due to earn in 2019, stands at $77.785 million, an average of only $12.96 million per year.

With the cornerback franchise tag at $16 million for 2019 and certain to go up in 2020, Howard gave the team a steep discount and, more importantly, he committed to the Dolphins for six years. As the cap continues to go up and up and up, thanks to a looming CBA, looming TV deals, and looming gambling revenue (my limit for using “looming” is closing in), that deal will look worse and worse, sooner than later.

Three years ago, Washington cornerback Josh Norman signed a five-year contract with a firm average of $15 million at signing. Last year, Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson signed a five-year contract worth $14.5 million per year at signing. Two years ago, Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye signed a five-year contract worth $13.5 million at signing. That same year, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore signed a five-year contract worth $13 million at signing. Each of those deals carries a greater annual average at signing than the deal signed by Howard, who could have played out his rookie contract and forced the Dolphins to tag him (at more than $16 million) or to let him hit the open market, where he definitely would have gotten a deal worth more than $12.96 million per year -- at a commitment of less than six years.

But, hey, Howard and his agent got to crow for a little while about having the best cornerback contract in NFL history. Even though, on closer examination, it isn’t.