And he remained silent, letting his explosive statement from Tuesday night speak. More social media posts. No press conferences.
He said all there was to say. He wants to go out.
Can Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins find common ground?
The dolphins want him to stay. His teammates really want him to do it. They know the Dolphins wouldn’t have won 10 games without him in 2020. They might not have won seven.
“I support X regardless of his decision,” Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said on Wednesday. “He has helped our team tremendously over the years. I’ve only been in this team for a year and I got to see what he was capable of doing. But it’s not under my control. But I support him.
However, their bosses – especially Chris Grier and Brian Flores – are unwilling to do what needs to be done to make Howard happy.
And, from what we’re hearing, it won’t take much.
Regardless of the rotation of his former agent Damarius Bilbo at the time, Howard was never really the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. The contract he signed in 2019 paid him less than $ 13 million a year, not the $ 15 million advertised.
Howard, in his Instagram post late Tuesday, insisted he was not fully briefed on the details. But he began to understand when the cornerback market exploded in the next offseason. The Dolphins helped establish that market by pledging $ 82.5 million over five years to free agent Byron Jones.
Suddenly Howard wasn’t even the highest paid corner of his own team anymore.
He complained to Bilbo. Bilbo couldn’t fix his mistake and was fired because of it. Enter David Canter, always a passionate (and sometimes outspoken) agent who lives 15 minutes from Hard Rock Stadium.
Canter tried for months to quietly satisfy Howard’s concerns in a way that wouldn’t have too much of an impact on the Dolphins’ finances. He would even have agreed with an acceleration of the salary from 2024 to 2021 to bring this year’s result in line with his production.
He doesn’t say.
The reason, we are told? We don’t change a contract with a bunch of years remaining.
But what they really meant was that we’re not improving a contract with a bunch of years left.
Because just days before Howard went public with his frustration, the Dolphins effectively changed a contract that was about to expire. They convinced linebacker Bernardick McKinney to cut his salary by 61% in 2021 and canceled the last two years of his contract.
The accounting coup made much smaller waves nationwide because that’s the way business has been done for years in the NFL. The only money in a contract that is guaranteed is the guaranteed money.
Everything else is largely irrelevant, both to the organization and to the players. But maybe this pendulum is returning to equilibrium.
Are Xavien Howard and Aaron Rodgers foreshadowing a changing tide?
Around the same time Howard was leaving the field after practice, Aaron Rodgers was on the podium in Green Bay. Rodgers used his first press conference in months to bring his many grievances to an organization he felt disrespected and underestimated him.
In a way, Rodgers and Howard are allies on the front lines of the New Labor War, a war not fought for money but for the agency.
Maybe they won’t win this war. While the The Dolphins have reported that they have already responded to calls from teams interested in a Howard tradeFlores knows her playoff hopes depend largely on solid defense. And the Dolphins’ defense without Howard will have a huge hole.
So it’s telling that Flores, even after Howard roasted the team very publicly a few hours earlier, spoke of reconciliation during an appearance on the Dolphins’ flagship radio station on Wednesday.
“I think we just continue to have discussions with him, his representation, and keep the lines of communication open, continue the dialogue and hopefully find a solution,” said Flores.
If, by finding something, he intends to find a team willing to give up the market value of a deal and give them more money, that would be a welcome development for Howard.
But if he somehow wants to convince Howard to play under his existing contract, we could have an interesting six months in Miami.
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