Dolphins Didn’t Want to Trade Xavien Howard
The Dolphins had absolutely no interest in fulfilling the trade request of All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, and now they won’t have to. The two sides reached a compromised re-worked contract on Sunday that has him considerably happier, and the Dolphins defense is staying intact.
Howard is only in the second year of a five-year contract, but in the time since he signed, Howard dropped behind teammate Byron Jones as the highest-paid corner on the team. That was part of his desire to get more guaranteed money in a new contract or threaten to walk without it, and that is what the Dolphins have now given him.
An extra $6.775 million of his 2022 salary is now guaranteed. The team has also added new bonuses and incentives to Howard’s contract, including $1 million Pro Bowl and All-Pro incentives this season, play-time incentives in 2021, and workout and roster bonuses for 2022.
The extra $3.5 million that Howard can make this season would put him above Stephon Gilmore as the highest-paid corner in the NFL in 2021.
As an additional gesture, the Dolphins have wiped out the $93,000 in fines that Xavien Howard incurred by missing minicamp during the offseason.
“I’m just happy about the whole situation. I’m just happy to be here and compete with the team. It feels great to be out here with my team, getting better. We got the deal done, so it feels great to be out here.”
Xavien Howard’s presence should help bolster the Dolphins’ fortunes this season, in which the sportsbook has set their NFL odds for regular-season wins at 9½ juiced slightly to the under.
Darius Leonard New Highest-Paid Inside Linebacker
The new highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL is the very deserving Darius Leonard. The Colts have signed Leonard to a five-year extension worth up to $99.25 million, with $52.5 million in guaranteed money. The contract is the biggest in both total value and annual value, which is $19.85 million a season, topping the 49ers Fred Warner’s $19 million.
Leonard was the Defensive Rookie of the Year and has been an All-Pro in each of his three NFL seasons, and is still just 26-years-old. He was selected in the second round of the same draft that Indianapolis grabbed All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, who will also be signing a big contract extension in the near future.
Baker Mayfield Not Worried About His Extension
Another member of that 2018 draft class who is due to sign a contract extension soon is Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. He also just watched a member of his first-round quarterback club, Josh Allen, sign a huge contract and his running back in Cleveland, Nick Chubb.
The money is coming to the quarterback who won the first playoff game in Cleveland in a generation, and he says he’s not worried about the timing.
“I’m worried about winning. The rest will take care of itself. I don’t have a timeline on it.” As for if he wants the deal to be done before the new season kicks off in September, Mayfield said, “I’m not doing the negotiation, so quite frankly, I don’t give a damn.”
Allen’s contract was for six years and $258 million, which is close to what is expected for Lamar Jackson, another 2018 draftee. But while Allen and Jackson have both performed like MVPs, Mayfield has yet to have a season at that level. His extension, which is coming, will be considerably less.
Urban Meyer, Stop It
It’s one thing for a coach to provide cover for his highly touted rookie quarterback that the entire world can’t wait to watch. It is an entirely different thing for Urban Meyer to pretend that Trevor Lawrence isn’t his starting quarterback and hasn’t been his starting quarterback since the day he took the job in Jacksonville.
Meyer told reporters on Sunday that he hasn’t yet decided on who will start in Week 1, and not a single of those reporters believe him. Meyer said, “If he’s not the quarterback, we think we can win.”
Except when he wasn’t the quarterback, you didn’t win. In fact, the Jags lost so much they were able to get Lawrence with the first overall pick, so they would never have to play another game with someone else at quarterback.