So much for the positive vibe with Xavien Howard reporting for the first day of Miami Dolphins training camp.
The All-Pro cornerback, who was been unhappy with his contract, announced on Instagram on Tuesday night he wants to be traded.
The impasse comes with Howard being unhappy with the five-year contract extension he signed in May 2019 — he mistakenly wrote 2018 in his Instagram post — and the Dolphins' reluctance to redo the deal with four years remaining on it.
Howard became the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL when he signed his extension, but he since has fallen to sixth and, perhaps worst of all, one of those who have overtaken him is teammate Byron Jones, who the Dolphins signed during the 2020 offseason.
All along, a trade was among the possible resolutions to the impasse, though it might be most damaging to the Dolphins' 2021 prospects.
Howard said his agent David Canter, who he hired early this offseason, approached the Dolphins with various alternative ways to adjust his contract, such as more guaranteed money, but the team declined all suggestions.
The next question, of course, is what the Dolphins will decide to do in light of Howard's request.
This brings us back to September 2019 when safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made a similar request, albeit for different reasons, and ended up being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a future first-round pick along with the teams swapping late-round choices.
When asked about Howard on Tuesday morning, head coach Brian Flores simply said he was happy to see him at the Baptist Health Training Complex.
“We’re excited to work with X and all of the players that are here," Flores said. "Those conversations with X’ his representation, Chris (Grier), myself, those will, like always, will be internal, confidential and it will always be that way. We’ll keep it that way with all players. But we’re excited to have him. I’m excited to work with him. He’s a great player and I look forward to building over the course of training camp.”
Here's what Howard's Instagram post said:
"I've given my heart and soul to the Miami Dolphins franchise since they drafted me in 2016," Howard began, "and want to make it clear that I love my teammates.
"They are my family. But what I've learned is that the business side of the NFL proves organizations don't always have a player's best interest at heart.
"My experience with the Dolphins the past few seasons has taught me that. In 2018 I signed an extension that I'll admit I didn't completely understand, or feel comfortable with.
"I've played on that deal for two seasons and didn't complain, but everyone knows I've significantly outperformed that deal.
"I'm one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I'm given, shadowing the opposition's best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, I'm the second highest paid cornerback on my own team, and it's not even close.
"I want to clear up a few misconceptions about my situation. My agent David Canter and I have never once asked for a completely new contract.
"We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table — like guaranteed money — that we felt were win-wins for both sides. There were proposals of adjustments that wouldn't just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed.
"This is why I don't feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don't feel valued, or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I.
"That's why I want to make it clear I'm not happy, and have requested a trade.
"Until that trade happens I am just here so I don't get fined, and will handle myself like professionals do."