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Dolphins All-Pro CB Xavien Howard holds out of minicamp

Dolphins All-Pro CB Xavien Howard holds out of minicamp
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2020, skipped mandatory minicamp Tuesday and could be fined more than $93,000 if he misses additional sessions Wednesday and Thursday in Davie, Fla. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, June 15 (UPI) -- All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard skipped the first day of the Miami Dolphins' mandatory minicamp Tuesday in Davie, Fla., amid a contract holdout, coach Brian Flores said.

"I think it's pretty clear that this is a contract situation, which we've talked about internally," Flores told reporters Tuesday in a Zoom video conference.

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"That's what I believe it is and obviously we've had discussions and we'll continue to have those discussions."

Howard can be fined more than $93,000 if he misses additional minicamp practices Wednesday and Thursday. The two-time Pro Bowl selection and 2020 All-Pro led the NFL with 20 passes defensed and 10 interceptions in 16 starts last season.

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Howard is the latest star player to become a minicamp holdouts. New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also skipped their team's mandatory practices this week.

The Dolphins signed Howard to a five-year, $75.2 million contract extension in 2019, which at the time made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. His current pact runs through 2024.

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Los Angeles Rams All-Pro Jalen Ramsey is the highest-paid cornerback in the league, with an average salary of $20 million per season. Howard's current pact features average annual salaries of $15 million, which ranks sixth in the NFL.

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Howard's teammate, cornerback Byron Jones, makes an average of $16.5 million per season.

"It's very unique," Flores said of Howard's contract situation. "It's a renegotiation of an extension after one year, and it's honestly something that hasn't been done before.

"I'm not saying that we're drawing a line in the sand, but different players set the market every year. We love 'X.' ... He's very productive. He's a team player. He's an important player on this team; but again, it's a unique situation. We want to keep him here."

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The Dolphins will return to Davie for training camp in late July.

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