Dolphins CB Xavien Howard absent from minicamp

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores told reporters on Tuesday that he does not know if cornerback Xavien Howard will report for the team’s mandatory offseason minicamp this week in Davie, Fla.

Howard, 27, was absent from the team’s picture and promotional shoot day on Monday and was not spotted by Flores on Tuesday morning. Howard reportedly is seeking a new contract on the heels of recording an NFL-best 10 interceptions during his All-Pro season in 2020.

“Quite honestly, I’m not sure he’s going to be here today. Again, I haven’t seen him. I expect him to be here, but I haven’t seen him yet,” Flores said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s pretty clear this is a contract situation, which we’ve talked about internally. … Obviously, we’ve had discussions and we’ll continue to have those discussions.”

Howard signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract extension with the Dolphins in May 2019. The two-time Pro Bowl selection will have a base salary of $12.075 million in 2021, however teammate Byron Jones will make more this season ($14 million) after signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract in March 2020.

“Not saying we’re drawing a line in the sand. But different players set the market every year. We love X — let me go ahead and say that right now so you guys can make sure you write that,” Flores said of Howard.

“We love him. He’s very productive. He’s a team player. He’s an important player on this team. But again, unique situation. We want to keep him here.”

Howard recorded 51 tackles and one forced fumble in 16 games last season. He has 191 tackles, 22 interceptions and two forced fumbles in 56 career games (55 starts) since being selected by Miami in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

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