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Dolphins Sign Xavien Howard to Record-Setting Contract Extension

Travis Wingfield



The Miami Dolphins understand they have something rare, and they’ve wisely decided to keep him in South Florida for a long time.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Dolphins have rewarded cornerback Xavien Howard with a 5-year, $76.5m ($46m guaranteed) extension.

Even on a team that’s “rebuilding”, having an elite, shutdown cornerback is such a desired commodity that the Dolphins wanted to maintain their former 2nd-round pick rather than trade him for future assets.

Miami drafted Howard #38 overall after giving up a fourth-round pick to move up four spots to draft the Baylor product. What initially seemed like another Dolphins 2nd-round bust quickly turned into a promising prospect. Activated for just 7 games his rookie season due to a knee injury, Howard has since started 28 out of 32 possible games and has accumulated 11 interceptions, 25 passes defended and 83 tackles over that time.

Howard tied for the league lead in interceptions last season (with 7), and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Miami is flushed with cap space going forward, and fitting Howard into the budget was a pretty easy task. It’ll be interesting to see how the annual salaries are laid out and if Miami decides to stack the guaranteed money towards the beginning of the contract, making it easier to maneuver Howard later in his career.

This is the second straight offseason Chris Grier has rewarded a cornerback he’s drafted with a contract extension. Defensive captain Bobby McCain will be entering year 2 of a $27m extension he signed last year. With Reshad Jones set to cost $11.5 million next season, Miami needs to find some cheap gems to round out its costly secondary.


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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen Named Starting QB vs Cowboys; Claim DE Taco Charlton

Chris Kowalewski



Only minutes after the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 loss against the Patriots, Head Coach Brian Flores maintained that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback… “Right now”.

By Thursday afternoon, it became clear that “right now” had passed as Josh Rosen was announced to take over the starting QB position ahead of Miami’s first road trip this Sunday against the Cowboys.

Fans had caught intermittent glimpses of Rosen’s abilities through the preseason and he has seen the field during replacement duty in Weeks 1 and 2, so far completing 8/21 passes for 102 yards, 2 INTs and a 38.1% completion percentage.

While Rosen has not yet led the Dolphins to regular season points, the second year passer will find his opportunity to do so in Dallas and the Dolphins will be able to make further evaluation of 2018’s tenth overall pick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran standing and experience had given him the early advantage, but the time has arrived in for the Dolphins to see what the future may bring – if anything – for Josh Rosen in Miami.

Whilst the national attention seems to be focused on Chris Grier’s rebuild of the roster, the Dolphins have claimed former first round pick, DE Taco Charlton, released by the Cowboys on Wednesday.

Charlton was the Dallas Cowboys’ first round selection in 2017, having played in 27 games (7 starts) and registered 4.0 sacks and 47 combined tackles.

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Miami Dolphins

Chris Grier Discusses Tanking, Recent Trades, Potential Fallout (9/17)

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

Chris Grier stood in front of the media earlier this morning to answer quite a few burning questions everyone has regarding the state of the Miami Dolphins.

Between the recent Laremy Tunsil/Kenny Stills and Minkah Fitzpatrick trades, it seems like any player with talent is being jettisoned for a draft pick. On the surface, this roster resembles a recently debunked AAF team, but beneath all of the embarrassment and comedy lies the potential for prosperity and success.

Will Chris Grier be able to turn the ship around? He gives us his answers to this rebuild, what to expect if another player demands a trade, his thoughts on Josh Rosen starting at quarterback, and much more. See everything he had to say down below:

On the Recent Trades:

Have you given up on 2 of your last 4 1st-round picks?

“I wouldn’t say given up. With Laremy (Tunsil), they kept pursuing us. Multiple, multiple times we talked and kept telling them no and what it would take. And they came and offered it. Funny story I was saying the other day, I called Laremy about the trade and he walked into the office and saw it on the board and said ‘I’d trade me for that’. But seriously, we were not trying to do it.

With Minkah, it was one of those things where the player expressed that maybe it was time for him to change. So we tried to make it work. Myself, Brian, (and) Steve (Ross) had multiple conversations with him; that we wanted him here. We viewed him as a core piece. The kid just felt it was time to move. And we told (teams) what the value was. We had multiple offers and we felt the Pittsburgh (Steelers) one was the best for the organization.”

Grier did not do a good job of convincing me that this front office will be able to withhold a mutiny (more on that later on, as Grier responds to that fear). With Tunsil, it sounds like they received an offer they couldn’t refuse. With Minkah, it seems like they pressed for the best offer. A first-round pick is always nice to have, but I didn’t get the impression that this was as much of a “win” as the Tusnil trade was. At least from Grier’s perspective.

Did Minkah say why he wasn’t on board?

“I’ll let him talk about that. He likes Brian (Flores) a lot. He likes it here. He talked a little bit about the position stuff and Brian I know told you the Patrick Chung story. (But) I’ll just leave that to Brian and Minkah.”

Brian Flores and Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham are not amateur coaches in this league. You can argue that Matt Burke was, but neither of these guys are. That said, how do two regimes mismanage Minkah Fitzpatrick’s skillset that poorly. To the point that he wants off the team before he can even play 20 games with them. A first-round pick is nice to receive in return, but this is a mistake I hope they learn from.

Was Brian Flores on board?

“Brian and I have been lockstep on it. We have had a lot of conversations. Brian and I communicate every day. I talk to Steve every day. We’re in this 100% together. (I) believe in Brian; he’s a great leader, a great man. I think he’s the right guy to lead us through these times. For us, Brian is a good football coach. A good man. Minkah said he appreciated that about Brian. Really liked him. Just too bad it didn’t work out.”

I believe that Minkah respected Flores and was fine with the workload. After all, he played under Nick Saban for four years. Intense is natural for him. Constant confusion and being overworked, however, is not.

Will any player be able to demand a trade and have it granted like Minkah Fitzpatrick?

“No. No. For us, we had multiple conversations with Minkah. We told him we wanted him to be here. Multiple times. Brian, Steve, Myself…we all expressed that. And for us, when we got to a point where we weren’t sure if this was going to work, we said ‘hey, if we get the value we deem is worth moving him, we’ll do it.’ There’s no precedent here where any player is going to come in and say they want out and we’re going to do it. Again, I have not had any calls from any agents or any players asking that want out. We have extended some of our younger players. Xavien (Howard). Jakeem (Grant). All those guys have bought in 100% and they told me as much (on) Monday. We have a good group of young guys that want to be here.”

I’m not 100% sure Xavien Howard wants to be here after watching players like Minkah and Laremy leave. Kenny Stills leaving isn’t as alarming, as he wasn’t going to be in the team’s future beyond 2019, but Fitzpatrick and Tunsil were expected to be here for 6-10 more years. Howard didn’t expect this when he signed his extension. Jakeem Grant on the other (stone) hand, is happy to have received his extension and I don’t think he’s going to risk mouthing off. Fitzpatrick knew he could afford it. Most of the young players on this team cannot.

On Tanking:

What do you say to the fans who wonder if they’re getting their money’s worth?

“I’d say to the fans: I appreciate their support. They deserve a winner. We’re trying to build them a winner. I think the fans will say the cycle we’ve been on the past 10+ years has not been good enough. We’re trying to right that as fast as we can. They deserve a winner and we’re trying to do that for them.”

Was trading all your talent away part of the strategy when Flores was first hired, or is this how the cards fell?

“Very unexpected as far as (the) Laremy and Minkah situations. You can’t prepare for that. I’m not going to sit up here and lie about it. But the opportunities as well were a bit unique with a bit of an historic haul for him and Kenny (Stills). I think for us, to strike on those opportunities…because we know the way the team was built right now it wasn’t going to win a Super Bowl, much less…it’ll be hard to compete for a playoff spot. Again, we’re trying to build a team that’s going to win right now. A long term winner. And hopefully bring a championship here to South Florida.”

What is the time schedule for getting to the playoffs, a Super Bowl…to have a winning record?

“I don’t know if you can really put a time frame with it. We positioned ourselves to where we think the organization is going to be in a good place here shortly. How long that takes, like I said, we’ll be aggressive. Again, we’re not going to sit back and not do anything, we’re going to be very proactive and get this turned quickly.”

For his sake, Grier better hope this franchise is in a very good place shortly.

On the Draft, Spending, and the Future Quarterback Situation:

What’s the plan for Josh Rosen in 2019?

“In terms of Josh (Rosen), we just want to keep developing. He’ll tell you, it’s been an eye opener. He’s said he’s learned more here the past few months than he’s learned his whole career. For him, having someone like Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to mentor him and to be that veteran influence to help him has been great. I think, when he’s ready to go, when coaches deem he’s ready to play, he’ll play. The good thing for us is, we see him every day. See him in the meetings. See how he prepares and learns and handles himself. We’ve been very pleased so far. When the coaches feel they want to make a chance…IF they do…then that will happen.”

It will happen.

Will Miami be drafting a quarterback in the 1st-round in the 2020 draft?

“We’re going to do everything we can to make our team better right away. For us, we’ve all talked about the quarterback being an important piece and it’s competition. We’re not shying away from that. Whoever is here, there’s going to be at every position; whether it’s quarterback, d-line, wide receiver, o-line, so yes.”

Grier ends his answer with “so yes”, and I have no idea what that means. The way Grier laughed while saying the first part of that answer gave away the worst kept secret in the league: Miami is most-definitely drafting a quarterback next year.

What can you do with 7 picks within the first 100 of the NFL draft?

“We can do anything we want. Whether it’s free agency or the draft. We’ve positioned ourselves where we can do anything or get whatever player we feel that will help us as soon as possible.”

Will you spend in Free Agency immediately, or will you hold off until your team is more-established?

“(We) talked about building this long term with sustained success right way. With us, we’ll be very aggressive. We’re not going to sit here on a bunch of money or anything. The plan is to build a winner here. Nobody likes losing. We’ve talked about building a team that’ll win and compete for championships for a long time instead of being ‘in this’ one year and then ‘falling back’ for 2 or 3 (years). Again, it’s a long term vision, but we’ll be aggressive.”

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Miami Dolphins

Minkah Fitzpatrick traded to Pittsburgh Steelers

Oliver Candido



In a somewhat surprising move, the Miami Dolphins have traded away former 1st round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick, to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Miami will receive Pittsburgh’s 2020 1st round pick, 2020 5th round pick, 2021 6th round pick and Pittsburgh will receive Minkah Fitzpatrick, 2020 4th round pick, and 2021 7th round pick per Ian Rapoport.

The Miami Dolphins entered the 2019 offseason with Minkah Fitzpatrick as a big part of the defensive game plan, the “Swiss army knife” from Alabama was asked to learn multiple (6) roles during the off-season as Miami adapted New England’s shape shifting defense. Minkah took issue with his snap count varying greatly for each position and didn’t seem to see eye to eye with the coaching staff. After being vocal about his feelings the Dolphins granted Minkah the ability to seek out a trade and a few days later, Pittsburgh came away with the winning offer.

Sep 15, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) stands alone on the sidelines after suffering an apparent injury against the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh is currently off to an 0-2 start to the season and has lost Quarterback Ben Roethlisburger for the remainder of the year. A curious move to made by a franchise whose currently undergoing a change of the guard, as they shift from the “Killer B’s” containing Antonio Brown, Le’veon Bell, and Big Ben to the future team being built around JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner. The Steelers must feel as if they have the answer to the Quarterback position already in the building. This move could easily become a disaster for Pittsburgh and a dream scenario for Miami, if the Steelers are unable to snatch wins out of Mason Rudolph and this 1st round picks turns into a top 10 selection.

Either way, this season seems to have been ripped out of the Game of Thrones. No one is safe, so don’t grow attached to any player. Whenever times get tough just remember to trust the process. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride of a year so be sure to stay caught up with everything that is the Miami Dolphins with us here at #FinsUp

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