Dolphins to release CB Xavien Howard; Jalen Ramsey stirs the pot with farewell message

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard is introduced before a game against the Denver Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium on Sep. 24, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
The Miami Dolphins are moving on from cornerback Xavien Howard. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) (South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins have informed two-time All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard that he will be cut, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager reported Friday.

It was a necessary move for Miami, a franchise that's struggling to get under the league's newly increased salary cap.

The team announced the decision to release defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah a few hours before the news about Howard broke. Waiving Ogbah saves the Dolphins nearly $14 million in cap space since they cut him before June 1. They would've saved $16 million against the cap by waiting until after that date.

Howard, a four-time Pro Bowler, has three years remaining on a five-year deal he signed in 2022. He is expected to garner plenty of interest as a free agent. But the 31-year-old's exit will break up what was a stacked backfield with Jalen Ramsey, and the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback didn't hold back in his farewell message.

"It was an honor teaming up with the GREATEST corner in Miami Dolphins history in my opinion," Ramsey wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "I won’t ever forgive dude for not utilizing our full skillset!"

Now seems like a good time to mention that the Dolphins parted ways with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio last month, and he's set to assume the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Under Fangio during this past campaign, Howard recorded 45 tackles, one interception and 12 pass deflections across 13 games before he sustained a season-ending left foot injury.

His $15.4 million salary for 2024 isn't guaranteed, and his cap hit will shoot up to $26 million next season after costing Miami $10 million against the cap in 2023.

The Dolphins are likely to wait until June 1 to cut Howard. If they adjust any sooner, the team will be stuck with $23 million in dead cap and only $2.8 million in savings, per Over the Cap. Designating him as one of two allotted post-June 1 cuts instead leaves $7.4 million in dead money for 2024 and $18.5 million in cap savings.

Howard is the team's longest-tenured player after joining the Dolphins as a second-round pick in 2016. He led the NFL in interceptions twice during his time with the team.