The Miami Dolphins were hopefuls in the Tom Brady sweepstakes after the legendary Patriots QB announced he would be leaving New England two offseason’s ago, and though the 44-year-old retired, the team was apparently still trying to get TB12 in a Miami uniform.
According to Pro Football Talk, Brady wasn’t the only recent retiree that the ‘Phins wanted to lure back onto the field.
Per multiple sources, and as first revealed on Monday’s PFT Live, the Dolphins planned to pursue Sean Payton to be the coach and Tom Brady to be the starting quarterback. The plan was scrapped after Brian Flores filed his lawsuit against the NFL generally and the Dolphins, Giants, and Broncos specifically.
On the record, Dolphins declined comment. Team sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issues confirmed that the team contacted the Saints to seek permission to speak to Payton. The Saints, per Dolphins sources, declined the request, which they contend was made after Payton resigned on Tuesday, January 25 but before Flores filed his lawsuit one week later.
By rule, the Dolphins first would have had to reach an agreement with the Saints as to potential compensation for hiring Payton. Once an agreement had been reached, the Dolphins then would have had to work out an agreement directly with Payton.
As to Brady, Dolphins sources contend that internal discussions occurred regarding the possibility of adding Brady as a minority owner, but that those considerations currently are on hold. The delay, per Dolphins sources, has nothing to do with the lawsuit; it’s more about the uncertain status of Brady’s retirement from playing. Once it’s clear he’s not coming back to play for the Buccaneers or some other team, the plan for selling a piece of the team to Brady could proceed.
Rumors have persisted for two years regarding Brady’s potential involvement with the Dolphins, either as a player or as a partial owner. The connection arises from Brady’s friendship with Bruce Beal, a significant limited partner who is poised to eventually purchase the team from Stephen Ross. Indeed, as Brady approached free agency in 2020, the Patriots were very concerned that Brady would join the Dolphins as a player — with partial ownership on the table.
It’s unclear whether and to what extent either Payton or Brady were actually aware of the plan to pursue them. It’s hard to imagine that the Dolphins would have made a blind request for permission to pursue Payton without Payton being interested. As to Brady, the fact that he’s reportedly (and indeed is) the unnamed quarterback with whom Ross allegedly tried to get Flores to tamper in 2020 makes another run at Brady not a ludicrous thought, especially since the Dolphins have put together a team that has finished two straight seasons above .500, but with no playoff appearances.
Brady remains on the Tampa Bay roster, and he’ll stay there until June 2, at the earliest. Any move made before then would trigger a $32 million cap charge in 2022 for the Buccaneers. After June 2, a retirement or a trade would push the bulk of the cap charge to 2023.