The Miami Dolphins seem prone to appease any issues Professional Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard could have together with his contract this offseason.
Dolphins basic supervisor Chris Grier mentioned Wednesday he has already had a number of conversations with Howard because the finish of the 2021 season on the NFL scouting mix in Indianapolis.
“I’ve had a number of talks with Xavien this offseason,” Grier mentioned. “Had some texts backwards and forwards. We’re going to have conversations and see if we are able to come to some form of decision. My anticipation is that Xavien will probably be right here subsequent yr.”
Final offseason, Howard reached a degree the place he demanded a commerce from the group amid a contract dispute with the workforce. Though he nonetheless had 4 years remaining on his six-year, $77.2 million deal negotiated in 2019, he and the Dolphins added 2021 incentives that bought his totally assured determine for the season to $12,785,294 and the utmost he might earn with incentives to $16,285,294.
The restructure kicked the can down the street, however nonetheless permitting for a similar points to stay heading into this offseason.
Grier mentioned, nevertheless, there was a pledge from the group again then to return again round and handle it.
“We had made the promise to him,” Grier mentioned. “After the season, we’ll make the adjustment: ‘We’ll have a look at it, play via the season, get us to the third yr of the deal after which we’ll have a look at it, speak about it.’ Simply to be truthful with him and do it, that’s the best factor to do. If he desires to return again and play on the deal, we might, however we all know that’s not the case.”
After the Dolphins signed fellow cornerback Byron Jones within the 2020 offseason, Jones was set to make $16 million greater than Howard between the 2020 and 2021 seasons earlier than including the ensures and incentives for 2021.
Howard had a league-leading 10 interceptions in 2020 and was a Defensive Participant of the 12 months candidate. In 2021, Howard had 5 interceptions, two pressured fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.
Settling Howard’s deal will probably be a focus within the subsequent month because the Dolphins look to maneuver with a league-leading $60 million in cap area totally free company that begins on March 16.
“I believe it gives alternatives for us to do a whole lot of various things, whether or not it’s free company, trades and stuff,” Grier mentioned in regards to the flexibility. “We’re additionally not residing yr to yr. We’re making an attempt to even have some perspective.
“The chance so as to add good gamers, we’ve at all times been that manner. We’ve at all times pursued and tried to do it. So, we’ll be aggressive nonetheless. If the best participant, if [coach Mike McDaniel] and I really feel the best participant [is available] for us to assist us get higher and maintain us transferring ahead, we’ll go after him. … That doesn’t imply we’ll spend each cent proper as much as it as a result of I believe that leads you to not with the ability to do strikes in season.”
Topping the checklist on strikes with their very own free brokers earlier than the Dolphins delve deep into free company is what they’ll do with defensive finish Emmanuel Ogbah and tight finish Mike Gesicki.
“I might say we’ve in all probability had extra discussions with Drew than Ogbah,” Grier mentioned. “These are occurring all all through the course of the season. … We all know what [Ogbah] is. He’s a great man, good participant, good particular person, matches all the factors we’re in search of. He’s finished a pleasant job for us the final two years. … Mike is aware of how I really feel about him. I drafted him and have had separate conversations with Mike. We’ve had restricted talks together with his brokers.
“Because it bought to the tip of the season with free company, each of these guys get up to now, they need to have the ability to see what their choices are. They each instructed us they wish to be again in Miami. They each like it right here. They wish to be again. We’ll see what occurs.”
Grier additionally acknowledged that Gesicki struggles with the blocking side of his sport whereas excelling as a pass-catching tight finish.
One of many two between Gesicki and Ogbah could possibly be stored in Miami by use of the franchise tag.
“I believe all choices are open,” Grier mentioned. “With the teaching employees coming in, we’re simply giving them the chance to have a look at the gamers and consider the fellows we probably may tag, however I believe we have now to depart all choices on the desk for us. That could possibly be a possible transfer for us.”
Door shut on Watson
Grier voiced a dedication to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in his Wednesday feedback whereas shutting down the workforce’s earlier pursuit of Houston Texans’ elite however troubled quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“I believe the door is shut on Deshaun,” Grier mentioned. “On the finish of the day, Mike and the employees have come to do a whole lot of work and studied a whole lot of Tua and so they be ok with his developmental upside, what he might be after which the match within the offense. I believe we’re good with Tua.”
Grier didn’t sound overly convincing, nevertheless, when requested if he nonetheless feels Tagovailoa can turn into an elite quarterback.
“I can’t say he can’t be,“ Grier mentioned. “It’s in a scenario now the place this will probably be constructed round his ability set and what the offense might be and Mike’s imaginative and prescient of how he matches. So, I wouldn’t say he can’t be. It’s too early.
“I do know individuals wish to say he doesn’t throw the ball downfield, however he’s extremely correct, and that’s the actual thrilling half for Mike and the teaching employees, his accuracy.”
On Payton, Brady report
Grier additionally addressed a latest Professional Soccer Speak report that mentioned the Dolphins have been excited about pursuing a mixture of Sean Payton as coach and Tom Brady as quarterback.
Grier set the file straight, saying the Dolphins by no means appeared into Brady, however they did inquire about Payton as coach as he was retiring.
“I reached out to New Orleans a pair days after simply to see, ‘Is he finished with soccer or does he wish to coach?’ I don’t know what’s occurring over there. They usually simply instructed us no, they weren’t going to grant permission. In order that was it.
“We’ve at all times been, since I’ve been right here, aggressive choices and he’s among the best coaches in soccer and we have been nonetheless in the course of our interviewing course of. We stopped to see if he would have curiosity in any respect. So, I don’t even know if he would have curiosity.” …
— Grier declined to touch upon Wednesday in regards to the lawsuit filed by former coach Brian Flores.