Dolphins Release Xavien Howard: Salary Cap Pressures Lead to All-Pro’s Exit

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The Miami Dolphins made a significant announcement on Friday, informing cornerback Xavien Howard of their decision to cut ties with him. 

This move, reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager, comes as the Dolphins grapple with salary cap constraints.

The decision to release Howard, a two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, was deemed necessary for a franchise struggling to navigate the league’s newly increased salary cap. 

Howard had three years remaining on his contract, signed in 2022, making his departure a notable shake-up for the team. In a strategic effort to alleviate cap pressure, the Dolphins also announced the release of defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah earlier on the same day. 

A significant cap reduction of around $14 million was achieved by waiving Ogbah prior to June 1. However, the Dolphins might have saved at least an extra $16 million if they had held off until after that date.

Dolphins Face Challenges Post-Howard

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The Miami Dolphins made a significant announcement on Friday, informing cornerback Xavien Howard of their decision to cut ties with him.

Despite Howard’s imminent departure, the cornerback is expected to attract significant interest as a free agent, given his impressive track record. His exit marks the end of an era for the Dolphins’ formidable backfield, which previously boasted the likes of Jalen Ramsey alongside Howard.

Howard’s tenure with the Dolphins has been illustrious, highlighted by his league-leading interceptions and consistent Pro Bowl appearances. However, a season-ending foot injury in 2023 and the financial implications of his contract prompted the team to part ways.

The Dolphins are likely to wait until June 1 to officially cut Howard, a move that would minimize the financial burden on the team. Designating him as a post-June 1 cut would result in $7.4 million in dead money for 2024 but yield significant cap savings of $18.5 million.

As the Dolphins bid farewell to their longest-tenured player, they face a period of transition and restructuring. Howard’s departure underscores the challenges teams face in managing cap space while striving for on-field success.

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