What Xavien Howard said in his first interview. And Dolphins’ Tagovailoa has his best day

·4 min read

Five days after asking for a trade, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard said Saturday that he hopes his contract situation gets worked out with the Dolphins but declined to say what he would do if it doesn’t.

Howard, who has asked for more guaranteed money but been repeatedly rebuffed in those request this offseason, was asked during a brief interview session if he’s more optimistic or pessimistic that a deal will get done.

“That’s up to the Dolphins,” he said. “I’m just here with my teammates.”

How can the Dolphins fix it? “That’s up to them,” he said.

Asked if he hopes things get worked out here, he said: “Yeah, I hope it gets better. It’s a process. I’m hearing this and that, but nothing is getting done right now.”

If he doesn’t get traded and don’t get a reworked contract, is he OK with that? “I’m here,” he said.

Asked if he has spoken with Brian Flores, he said “We talked but didn’t go nowhere.”

Howard was asked if he regrets referencing Byron Jones in his Instagram statement asking for a trade.

“Me and Byron have got a great relationship. I don’t like the media saying what they’re saying about me and Byron. We have a great relationship. ... It’s a business. The NFL’s a business. ... He’s going to support me. I’m going to support him no matter what.”

(To refresh, Howard said in his trade request statement: “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.”)

Howard participated in individual drills in practice -- but not team drills - after missing two days with a minor ankle injury.

“It’s been good,” he said of the ankle. “I was out there today. I’m just going to take it day by day.”

Asked if he expects to play in preseason, he said: “We’ll see when it gets here.”

And asked what the reaction from teammates has been to his trade request, he said: “Everything’s been good. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

He added: “Every day I’m out here I’m focused on getting better at something. Being motivated? That’s just in me right now.”

The Dolphins have offered Howard additional incentives but haven’t been willing to offer new guaranteed money; or guarantee 2022 money that’s not guaranteed; or move up 2024 money to 2021. Those last two ideas were suggested by his agent David Canter.

TAGOVAILOA SHINES

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa delivered his best practice in the first week of training camp, perhaps his best ever in his two-year NFL career.

Among the highights: a 63-yard TD pass to Albert Wilson, a deep pass to Adam Shaheen, another deep ball completion to Robert Foster and several strikes over the middle, to Jaylen Waddle (who made a diving catch) and Wilson.

▪ Here was the first team defense: Raekwon Davis, Zach Sieler and Emmanuel Ogbah at defensive end; Jerome Baker and Benadrick McKinney at inside linebacker; Andrew Van Ginkel in an edge/outside linebacker role; Byron Jones and Nik Needham on the boundary at cornerback; Justin Coleman in the slot.

Eric Rowe and Jason McCourty were the starting safeties.

It was interesting that Sieler worked ahead of Christian Wilkins on Saturday. And Needham worked ahead of Noah Igbinoghene in the boundary corner role normally filled by Howard. McCourty started ahead of rookie Jevon Holland.

▪ Tight end Mike Gesicki did not practice Saturday because of undisclosed medical reasons.

Receiver Will Fuller and linebacker Jaelan Phillips also were out Saturday, but Brian Flores said their injuries are day to day, not week to week. Phillips was wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg.

▪ Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Ogbah, has said he would like a contract extension for the defensive end. Ogbah will make $7.5 million this season in the second year of a two-year deal.

“My agent is handling his job and I’m handling mine,” Ogbah said. “I always viewed myself staying here longterm, which is always a goal of mine, but whatever happens I’m going out here and ballling.”

He said he skipped the voluntary part of the offseason program because “at the end of the day, it’s voluntary, so I didn’t really have to.”

▪ Robert Hunt said his move from right tackle to right guard is going well.

“My reaction [to the switch] is I want to play. Whatever I can do to help this team and play, [I’ll do]. I haven’t played it in a while, but I’m trying to get used to it.”

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