Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard will be available to take part in offseason activities with the team and ready to play when the 2020 NFL season kicks off. According to Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post, the NFL has decided not to suspend Howard for a portion of the 2020 season after he was arrested in December on a domestic battery charge. An NFL spokesman confirmed to the Post that no disciplinary action will be forthcoming. The state reportedly dropped the charge in February.
On Dec. 30, reports surfaced that Howard was arrested on a charge of domestic battery in Davie, Florida. According to Local10's Peter Burke, who obtained a local police report, the incident occurred between Howard and his live-in girlfriend, who is the mother of their three children. The two argued "over a recent purchase of a purse." According to police, the argument turned physical at some point.
Howard had been placed on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury in October. His arrest came on the same day the Dolphins ended the 2019 season with a 27-24 victory over the New England Patriots.
Howard was originally drafted with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Baylor. While he started in just six games during his rookie season, Howard started in all 16 games during his second year and recorded a career-high 48 combined tackles, 13 passes defensed and four interceptions. Howard then took his game to another level in 2018, when he recorded seven interceptions, which was tied for the league lead. He was awarded with a five-year, $76.5 million contract extension last offseason, which made him the highest-paid cornerback in the league at the time.
The Dolphins now own two of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, as they signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones to a five-year deal worth north of $82 million. According to Over The Cap, Jones and Howard are the two highest-paid cornerbacks behind Darius Slay of the Philadelphia Eagles, who also reset the market this offseason.