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Dolphins expected to release veteran CB Xavien Howard; Miami parts ways with pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah

The Miami Dolphins' march to get below the salary cap will begin by jettisoning two veteran presences on their defense.

The Dolphins will release four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard at the start of the new league year on March 13, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo and Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager reported on Friday.

Miami also released edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah on Friday, the team announced.

Howard, who has spent the entirety of his eight-year career in Miami, has been a mainstay for the Dolphins defense throughout his tenure as one of the league's top cornerbacks. His player, however, seemed to dip in 2023 as he failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time since the 2019 season. After recording 10 interceptions in 2020 and five more in 2021, Howard recorded one in 2022 and just one this past season.

Designating Howard as a post-June 1 cut would save the Fins a whopping $18.5 million in 2024. Garafolo and Schrager reported that Howard, who will turn 31 in July, is expected to have significant interest once he hits the market.

Ogbah inked a four-year, $65 million contract in 2021 after back-to-back nine-sack seasons in Miami. At the time, he was one of the more underrated edge players in the league, always seeming to be Johnny-on-the-spot.

However, in the past two seasons, he's dealt with injuries and his play has fallen off. In 2022, Ogbah generated one sack in nine games. Last season, he earned just 5.5 QB takedowns in 15 games. With no guaranteed money left on his deal and a $17.71 million cap hit, the salary simply didn't fit the production for the 30-year-old.

After releasing Ogbah, Miami will save $13.7 million on the cap with $4 million in dead money.

Howard and Ogbah were clear cut candidates for the Dolphins, who remain well above the salary cap even with Friday's news that the 2024 cap came in above projections.

The Dolphins' top two linebackers, Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips, are both coming off season-ending injuries. Andrew Van Ginkel, also injured last season, is set to become a free agent.

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