Dolphins Deny Exploring Xavien Howard Trade

The Miami Dolphins issued a statement pushing back against a published report they were fielding trade offers for 2018 Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard
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The Miami Dolphins strongly denied Tuesday a published report suggesting they were exploring trade offers for 2018 Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard.

The story from South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly suggested the Dolphins already had an offer and were "seriously considering moving" Howard, who is tied for first in the NFL this season with four interceptions.

"The report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is factually inaccurate and based on rumors," the Dolphins said in a statement. "The paper practiced poor journalism by not reaching out to the team for comment or the chance to respond prior to publishing the story. We are not exploring any trades regarding Xavien Howard."

Kelly's story came after a tweet from former NFL defensive lineman Leger Douzable saying the Dolphins were putting Howard on the trading block in advance of the trading deadline Nov. 3.

A second-round pick in 2016, Howard is in his fifth season with the Dolphins and is signed through 2024 after getting a five-year, $75.25 million extension in May 2019, according to overthecap.com.

Howard has cap hits between $12.25 million and $14.38 million over the next four years, according to spotrac.com, but his contract only carries $2.5 million guaranteed for injury in 2021 and $6.8 million in 2022.

Howard has started 45 of his 46 career games with the Dolphins, but has had at least three knee operations. The last came last fall after he had been put on injured reserve after appearing in five games.

The Dolphins bolstered the cornerback position in the offseason when they signed Byron Jones as an unrestricted free agent from the Dallas Cowboys and then used their last of their three first-round picks in the 2020 NFL draft on Noah Igbinoghene from Auburn.

Igbnoghene got extensive playing time in the Dolphins' games against the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks in Week 2-4, but he played only 23 combined snaps in Miami's past two games after Jones returned from a groin injury.

The Dolphins made two deals around the trading deadline last year — they sent running back Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2020 fifth-round pick and they acquired cornerback Aqib Talib and a fifth-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams for a seventh-round selection in a move made by the Rams to clear cap space. Talib was on injured reserve at the time of the trade and the Dolphins never activated him before he announced his retirement in the offseason.

The Dolphins traded two first-round picks last year, sending tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans in a multi-player deal that netted them first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a second-round pick in 2021, and later sending safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2020 first-round pick they used on tackle Austin Jackson.