If Xavien Howard had his preference, he would remain with the Miami Dolphins. Howard has shown up to Dolphins camp despite wanting a new or reworked contract that would make him one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL again (Howard is currently the sixth-highest paid cornerback, behind Dolphins teammate Byron Jones).
The All-Pro cornerback has missed some practice time with an undisclosed injury, but said he practiced Saturday. Howard still has a trade request -- if his contract situation isn't resolved with the Dolphins. He hopes that's not the case.
"That's up to the Dolphins," Howard told reporters Saturday regarding his contract situation. "I'm just here with my teammates and enjoying every moment with my teammates... I hope it gets better. It's a process. I'm hearing this and hearing that but nothing is getting done right now.
"Right now, I'm just here -- out here every day, supporting the team and out here working."
Howard said he and Dolphins coach Brian Flores did talk earlier in the week, but it "didn't go nowhere." He hasn't committed to playing in any preseason games, and shot down any rift between him and Jones -- who makes $1.45 million more in average annual salary than Howard.
"Me and Byron got a great relationship," Howard said. "All that the media is saying this and saying that about me and Byron, man we've got a great relationship. We hang out together.
"It's a business at the end of the day. The NFL is a business. When a player makes it a business, he's selfish or he's this and that. He's going to support me and I'm going to support him no matter what."
Howard led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2020 and has the most interceptions in the league since 2017 (22). Howard also led the league in passes defensed (20) last season and opposing quarterbacks targeting him had just a 30.3 passer rating. He also earned his first All-Pro selection in 2020.
There's a lot on the table for Howard heading into this season. He wants to backup the dominant play from last year, so there's no debate on how valuable he is to a defense.
"I've always been motivated," Howard said. "There's nothing -- every day I'm out here, I'm focused on getting better at something. Being motivated, that's just in me right now. That's been in me."