Howard appears set to form a backfield tandem with Matt Breida, whom the Dolphins acquired in exchange for a fifth-round pick Saturday, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com reports. Howard was positioned as the unquestioned No. 1 option in Miami's backfield prior to the team's acquisition of Breida, who impressed as a part-time player in San Francisco's rushing attack over the last three seasons. Both 25-year-old tailbacks boast effective and distinct skill sets -- Howard being a consistent rusher between the tackles, whereas Breida brings explosiveness and pass-catching prowess -- making it easy to envision them syncing up as a complementary duo for 2020. Howard, to his credit, has proven an ability to hold up while handling a large workload, making him the favorite to handle the majority of early down work, while Breida (who has never eclipsed more than 180 touches in a single season) could be more effective in a change-of-pace role. Breida will play out the 2020 campaign on his one-year, $3.3 million RFA contract tender, while Howard's two-year, $10 million deal could lend him more long-term security in Miami. In any case, both running backs look primed to handle significant workloads for the Dolphins in 2020.
Howard (shoulder) said Thursday that he's fully healthy after a shoulder stinger sidelined him for most of the second half of the 2019 season, Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post reports. "I'm back to 100 percent now," Howard said. "It took a while, but I'm finally back to being 100 percent." As a member of the Eagles last season, Howard was the team's leading rusher through its first nine games, but he logged just one snap over Philadelphia's final eight games -- including a wild-card round loss to Seattle -- while managing the injury. After being active but going unused in the playoffs, Howard admitted afterward that he hadn't fully regained strength in his shoulder, but he now looks to be in a good spot health-wise following two-plus months of rest and rehab. The Dolphins' decision to sign Howard to a two-year, $10 million deal in the first week of free agency implies confidence in his health, and the 25-year-old tentatively looks in line to lead Miami's ground game in 2020. He could face more of a challenge for the top job, however, if the Dolphins invest an early round pick into a running back during April's draft.
The Dolphins and Howard (shoulder) agreed to a contract Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Howard played just one offensive snap after the Eagles' Week 10 bye, the result of a lingering shoulder injury. After the team's wild-card loss to the Seahawks, he noted he didn't have the strength in his shoulder to take the field, despite being active and available. Howard's upcoming deal likely will be contingent on him passing a physical, but due to world events it's unclear when that'll come to pass. Once he gets the all-clear, though, he'll be a candidate to lead a Miami backfield that also includes Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin, among others.
Howard relayed Sunday that he didn't have enough strength in his shoulder to play during the Eagles' wild-card defeat to the Seahawks, Martin Frank of The Delaware News Journal reports. Although he was active for the Eagles' last two games, Howard played just one snap on offense in the regular-season finale. A pesky shoulder injury was to blame, sidelining him for six consecutive contests following the team's Week 10 bye. Prior to the injury, he averaged 4.4 YPC on his 119 rushes, reeled in 10 of 14 targets for 69 yards and scored seven touchdowns in nine outings. His absence allowed 2019 second-round pick Miles Sanders and Boston Scott a chance to shine, which combined with Howard's impending unrestricted free agency leaves his future clouded.
Coach Doug Pederson expects Howard to have a role on offense in Sunday's playoff game against Seattle, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Howard returned from a six-game absence for Sunday's 34-17 win over the Giants, but he was limited to a single offensive snap even though Miles Sanders was forced out early with an ankle injury. Boston Scott took advantage with a 19-54-3 rushing line and four catches for 84 yards on six targets, so he could serve as the lead back if Sanders isn't ready by the weekend. Howard's involvement, or lack thereof, may largely depend on the health of Sanders' ankle.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|5||10/11||@San Francisco 49ers||3||12.16|
|7||10/25||Los Angeles Chargers||22||18.88|
|8||11/01||Los Angeles Rams||18||18.00|
|10||11/15||New York Jets||9||14.50|
|12||11/29||@New York Jets||9||14.50|
|14||12/13||Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|15||12/20||New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|16||12/27||@Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|3 Year Avg||215||861||8||18||113||0||143|