The Miami Dolphins have signed cornerback Xavien Howard to a five-year extension that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.
According to a league source, Howard, who had been pushing for an extension all offseason, received a five-year deal that will pay him $76.5 million. The deal includes $46 million in guaranteed money, and makes him the team’s highest-paid player. He will receive $51 million over the first three years of the deal, which averages out to $17 million a season.
Howard’s deal exceeds the $75 million contract Josh Norman received from the Washington Redskins in 2016.
Howard, who has 11 interceptions and 25 pass breakups in 28 games the past two seasons, made his first Pro Bowl last season despite missing the final four games because of a knee injury.
The Dolphins view Howard, a former Baylor standout taken by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2016 draft, as a cornerstone of their new hybrid defense. Last season, Howard was used to shadow every opponent’s best receiver. Still, he contributed 35 tackles, 12 pass deflections and was tied for the league lead with seven interceptions.
The Dolphins are hopeful that the 25-year-old will continue to improve, which could turn him into the best cornerback the franchise has had since Brent Grimes.
The cornerback market was slow during free agency this offseason, but Washington gave strong safety Landon Collins a six-year contract worth $84 million, with $44.5 million in guarantees and $26 million guaranteed at signing. That deal helped set the framework for what Howard received from Miami to avoid getting hit with the franchise tag next offseason.
Getting a deal done with Howard was viewed as the franchise’s top priority. Now, the Dolphins can turn their attention to continuing to strengthen the 2019 roster.
The Dolphins signed offensive tackle Jordan Mills, who started every game for the Buffalo Bills in 2015-18, to a one-year deal worth $3 million on Thursday. The Dolphins also could add a few more veterans to the roster before training camp begins in late July.