Patriots

Dolphins reportedly planned pursuit of Tom Brady, Sean Payton prior to Brian Flores lawsuit

"Rumors have persisted for two years regarding Brady’s potential involvement with the Dolphins, either as a player or as a partial owner."

Tom Brady Dolphins
Tom Brady during a game against the Dolphins in 2021. AP Photo/Jason Behnken

The Dolphins were reportedly considering a very different offseason approach than the one the team has taken in recent weeks. Instead of hiring former 49ers assistant Mike McDaniel as head coach — as the team recently did — Miami may have initially wanted to bring in a former Super Bowl-winner.

And according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Dolphins had originally intended not only to try and hire former Saints head coach Sean Payton, but also attempt to lure Tom Brady to be the team’s next quarterback.

“The Dolphins planned to pursue Sean Payton to be the coach and Tom Brady to be the starting quarterback,” wrote Florio. “The plan was scrapped after Brian Flores filed his lawsuit against the NFL generally and the Dolphins, Giants, and Broncos specifically.”

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Flores, the ex-Dolphins head coach who was fired by the team in January despite leading the team to a second consecutive winning season, filed suit earlier in February, alleging discrimination and racist hiring practices.

Specific to the Dolphins, Flores alleged that team owner Stephen Ross offered him $100k for each game the team lost that season (in order, in Ross’s view, to help Miami improve its draft pick and rebuild its roster).

Flores also asserted that Ross tried to get him to help the Dolphins commit tampering — an NFL rule violation — in order to recruit a “prominent” quarterback to the team in 2020. The player has since been reportedly identified as Brady.

In Florio’s view, this helps confirm Miami’s initial offseason plan.

“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,” Florio noted, “especially since the Dolphins have put together a team that has finished two straight seasons above .500, but with no playoff appearances.”

Brady has also been considered for a potential minority stake in the team, Florio explained.

“Rumors have persisted for two years regarding Brady’s potential involvement with the Dolphins, either as a player or as a partial owner,” wrote Florio. “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.”

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Ultimately, Miami ended up going in another direction, with McDaniel now installed as the team’s coach and 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa remaining as the presumptive starting quarterback.

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