There are good reasons the Dolphins have signed cornerback Xavien Howard to an extension, a transaction that became official Monday.
The numbers alone provide some of those reasons:
- Howard was able to tie for first in the NFL with seven interceptions despite being limited to 12 games, four fewer than co-leaders Kyle Fuller and Damontae Kazee.
- Howard became the third Dolphins player to have a share of first in the NFL in interceptions, joining Sam Madison in 1999 (7) and Dick Anderson in 1973 (8).
- When he was named team MVP in 2018, Howard joined Brent Grimes (2013) and Madison (1999) as the only cornerbacks to win that honor.
- Howard became the fourth cornerback in franchise history to be selected to and start in the Pro Bowl. He joined Madison (1999-02), Patrick Surtain (2002-04) and Grimes (2013-15).
- Howard’s seven interceptions in 2018 tied for ninth-most in franchise history.
- He set a franchise record with three multiple-interception games in 2018 — against Oakland in Week 3, Indianapolis in Week 12 and Buffalo in Week 13.
- Howard became the first Dolphins player with multiple-pick games when he did it against Denver and New England in December 2017 and repeated the feat last season.
- He became the first player to intercept Tom Brady twice in the same game since 2014 when Indianapolis’ Mike Adams did it.
- Howard’s 11 interceptions since Week 13 of the 2017 season are the most in the NFL. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is second with nine.
- With his picks against Andrew Luck on Dec. 25, 2018, he became the first NFL player since November 2016 to record an interception on back-to-back defensive snaps.
- According to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks combined for a paltry 62.6 passer rating when targeting Howard in 2018. The figure was 66.8 in 2017.
- Howard was the sixth of 31 cornerbacks selected in the 2016 NFL Draft and one of only two to have been selected to a Pro Bowl. The other is Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey, who was the fifth overall selection and first cornerback taken that year.
- Howard’s 11 career interceptions rank first among all 2016 cornerbacks drafted. Ramsey is second with nine.
- In what may have been the signature game of his career so far, Howard totally shut down New England wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a 27-20 Dolphins win in a Monday night game at Hard Rock Stadium in 2017. While he was in man coverage on Cooks, Howard was targeted six times without allowing a completion and had two interceptions. He was flagged for pass interference once, though ESPN analyst Jon Gruden (before he took over as Raiders head coach) questioned the call. “I don’t know about that one.” Cooks’ one catch that night, good for 38 yards, came just before the two-minute warning while the Dolphins were in zone coverage.