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Miami signing Xavien Howard to record 5-year, $76.5 million extension

Xavien Howard

The Miami Dolphins are signing Xavien Howard to a five-year, $76.5 million contract extension that includes $46 million in guarantees, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, making him the highest-paid cornerback in the history of the NFL.

Howard, who made his Pro Bowl debut in January, had 35 tackles, 12 passes defensed, and a league-leading seven interceptions in 2018 despite missing the last four games of the regular season due to injury. He first established himself as an impact player for the Dolphins in 2017, when he started all 16 games en route to 48 tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 13 passes defensed. As a rookie, after suffering a knee injury in training camp that required arthroscopic surgery, Howard played in just seven games, starting six, and finishing with 40 tackles and six passes defensed.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder was a second-round pick of the Dolphins in 2016. He totaled 98 tackles and 10 interceptions during his three seasons at Baylor University before entering the draft as an underclassman.

Clearly, Miami believes Howard has what it takes to be a long-term cornerstone of first-year head coach Brian Flores’ defense. He shadowed the opposition’s most threatening receiver on a weekly basis last season, and took on a more active, vocal role of leadership in the Dolphins’ locker room. According to Pro Football Focus, Howard allowed just a 62.6 passer rating on targets his direction, the third-lowest mark in football.

The Dolphins are at the very beginning of one of the most aggressive rebuilding efforts in league history. Though they still have many questions to answer both now and going forward, locking down a player of Howard’s caliber is certainly a good start on the path toward contention.