Ex-Dolphins Starter Sends 2-Word Pitch to Xavien Howard After Release

Texans' Laremy Tunsil sends recruitment pitch to Xavien Howard after Dolphins release.

Getty A former Miami Dolphins player had a public pitch for cornerback Xavien Howard following news of his release.

The Miami Dolphins have informed cornerback Xavien Howard that he will be released “at the start of the league year” according to NFL Network insiders Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager. As a designated post-June 1 cut, the veteran’s departure will save the Dolphins $18.5 million in cap space that will become available in June.

Garafolo added that Howard is “expected to have significant interest on the market,” and at least from a recruiting standpoint, that was very evident just two hours after the news.

“Howard x Stingley 😤,” former Dolphins first rounder Laremy Tunsil pitched on X, seemingly suggesting that his ex-teammate join cornerback Derek Stingley on the Houston Texans. Of course, the four-time Pro Bowl left tackle has also spent the past five seasons with the Texans and is under contract through 2026.

Tunsil and Howard entered the league together in 2016, selected in back-to-back rounds by the Dolphins organization. A reunion in Houston is not only possible after this release, but it’s also starting to feel somewhat plausible.

Texans Reporter Says Dolphins’ Cut Xavien Howard ‘Has Interest’ Signing in Houston

Tunsil’s message wasn’t the only smoke involving Howard to Houston on February 23.

ESPN beat writer and Texans correspondent DJ Bien-Aime reported the following: “From people I trust Xavien Howard has interest in joining the Texans. He’s from Houston. From the Texans side it’s TBD.”

With his long and illustrious Dolphins career coming to a close, a homecoming feels like the perfect next step for Howard as he continues on his NFL journey.

The Texans profile as an up-and-coming dark horse contender in 2024, led by Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud and a youthful roster that includes recent draft hits like Stingley, Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson, WR Nico Collins, S Jalen Pitre, WR Tank Dell and more.

Houston also has a defensive-minded head coach in DeMeco Ryans that was well-liked by his players in year one, and a large amount of available cap space to experiment with in free agency ($67.58 million).

Will some of that money go to bringing in Howard? Time will tell, but the Texans definitely appear to be the early favorite to land the soon-to-be former Dolphin in March.

NFL Raises Salary Cap at ‘Unprecedented’ Rate

Friday, February 23 was not short of big announcements.

Earlier in the afternoon, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported that “the NFL announced today that the 2024 Salary Cap will be $255.4 million per club, with an additional $74 million per club payment for player benefits, which includes Performance Based Pay and benefits for retired players.”

“The unprecedented $30 million increase per club in this year’s Salary Cap is the result of the full repayment of all amounts advanced by the clubs and deferred by the players during the Covid pandemic as well as an extraordinary increase in media revenue for the 2024 season,” he explained in a follow-up post.

This updated cap number helps every NFL franchise but most of all, it should earn big-time free agents more money.

“The winners in the salary cap spike? Everyone. But an especially big win for quality players at premium positions,” ESPN insider Field Yates commented. “Teams have that much more room to reset the market (hello, Justin Jefferson) or pay very good players near the top of the market.”

For the Dolphins organization, it also helps the front office dig its way out of what was a $51.9 million hole before Friday. Now — after the cap increase and Emmanuel Ogbah’s release — Over the Cap has Miami listed at $24.789 million in the negative, with another $18.5 million freeing up in June.

Clearly, there’s still work to be done for general manager Chris Grier and his team, but February 23 was a huge step in the right direction for the Dolphins overall.

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