The Miami Dolphins locked in a key piece of their rebuild when they traded for former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen during the NFL Draft, and now they are taking care to lock down one of the key defenders who will lead that rebuild. According to a report from ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, the Dolphins are signing cornerback Xavien Howard to a five-year, $76.5 million contract extension. The deal contains $46 million in guaranteed money and makes Howard the highest-paid corner in the NFL.
Dolphins are signing CB Xavien Howard to a record five-year, $76.5 million extension that includes $46M guaranteed, making him the highest paid CB in the NFL, sources tell ESPN. It’s the largest extension for a CB. Since becoming a 2nd-round pick, Howard has gone to one Pro Bowl.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2019
Howard is also getting $17 million per year over the first three years of the deal, per ESPN's Cameron Wolfe.
Dolphins CB Xavien Howard will receive $51 million in first 3 years of his new deal, source says. Big numbers for Howard.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) May 9, 2019
The previous largest contract for a corner was Josh Norman's five-year, $75 million deal signed with Washington back in 2016. Trumaine Johnson came close to topping it with a five-year $72.5 million deal with the Jets last offseason, but ultimately came just short of Norman's number. Now, Howard is at the top of the position.
Howard was Miami's second-round pick in 2016, and after being brought along somewhat slowly early on, blossomed into an all-out star in 2018.
He totaled 11 interceptions and 25 passes defensed in 28 games across the past two seasons, and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Among the 76 cornerbacks who played at least 350 snaps in coverage, Howard allowed the single lowest passer rating at 62.6, per Pro Football Focus.
He was headed into the final season of his rookie contract in 2019, but this deal will keep him in Miami for a lot longer. New coach Brian Flores will presumably deploy Howard as a lockdown perimeter corner, which should help as he builds out his defense over the next few years.