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Dolphins to release CB Xavien Howard

NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo reported that the Miami Dolphins are set to release cornerback Xavien Howard at the start of the 2024 league year. That move makes him a free agent who can negotiate with other squads.

Howard is coming off a season with 45 tackles, 12 passes defended, and an interception in 13 games. A foot injury cut his campaign short.

He signed a five-year, $90 million restructured contract extension during the 2022 offseason, and 2024 would have been his third year under the deal.

However, his cap hit would have increased from $10 million in 2023 to $25.9 million in 2024, his highest count throughout the deal. Despite his impending release, the Dolphins are still $27.9 million over the $255.4 million salary cap because of his $23.1 million dead cap. But the Dolphins can soften the blow by designating him as a post-June 1 cap casualty, allowing them to distribute Howard’s dead money over two seasons.

While Xavien Howard had a down year in 2023, he’s still among the best cornerbacks in the National Football League, as his agent, David Canter, tweeted.

Howard is a 2018 Second Team All-Pro member and a First Team All-Pro cornerback two years later. Coincidentally, he was the NFL’s interceptions leader for both years, tallying seven in 2018 and a career-high ten in 2020. He earned four Pro Bowl selections, including three consecutive nods from 2020 to 2022.

With the salary cap for 2024 increasing by $30.6 million compared to last season’s value, the bidding war for Howard’s services could be intense and pricey.

Aside from Xavien Howard, the Dolphins are also releasing Emmanuel Ogbah, according to a February 23 article by ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques. Ogbah signed a four-year, $65 million contract in 2022, and releasing him will give the Dolphins $13.7 million in cap savings.

-Lance Fernandez

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