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    Dolphins All-Pro CB Xavien Howard holds out of minicamp

    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.

    “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.

    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.

    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.

    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.”

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

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