NFL To Investigate Dolphins’ Tanking?

The Dolphins claim they aren’t tanking, but their fans are skeptical of that. Turns out, the NFL is a bit skeptical, too. The league’s competition committee is likely to look into whether the Dolphins have purposefully stripped down their team in 2019 in order to lose games and secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft. 

The committee will probably have the questions posed to it again, if not by the media, maybe by teams,” a league source told Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. “It’s likely the competition committee will have to address this issue.”

The committee would certainly have a good case to make, should they prob into the Dolphins’ affairs. In the last few weeks, the Dolphins have unloaded young stars Minkah Fitzpatrick and Laremy Tunsil in exchange for draft capital. Meanwhile, they’ve been outscored 102-10 through two weeks of the season.

It’s a bad look,” said one team source.

There is some precedent for the league looking into potential tanking. Five years ago, the committee questioned the Browns’ motives, but ultimately did not take action.

This time around, it’s possible that the NFL will give real thought to installing a lottery system for the draft, similar to the NBA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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37 comments on “NFL To Investigate Dolphins’ Tanking?

  1. sam1897

    Really, the dolphins are tanking, you think. But asking at loud, how is this different from last year where the Raiders shipped out Mack and Cooper for first round picks? The NFL didnt say a dam thing then.

    • MajorLeague79

      You make a valid point but the Raiders weren’t getting smoked nearly as bad as the Dolphins are. Plus there have been comments to the media about them tanking since this past offseason.

    • TrollHunter

      How can you argue that either the Raiders trades or Dolphins trades weren’t for the betterment of the organization!

      I think this is a bad move by the NFL. For years trades were almost nonexistent, now they are becoming commonplace.

      If the NFL truly wants to investigate tanking, then they shouldn’t be looking at trades. They need to look at play calling and playing time.

      Look into rather specific plays are called with the intent to lose a specific game. Also, look into rather certain players are getting more playing time than clearly better players.

      No matter what it’s going to be tough to prove. In my view I don’t really see the problem with tanking. If your going through a rebuild then it makes sense to unload as much talent as you can, if you don’t view that talent to be part of the future. Even from a fan perspective, I don’t get the outrage. Should you rather your team win 2-3 games and get the 1st overall, or win 4-6 and get pick 3?

      What the NFL should focus on is when teams in the middle don’t really try because they know it won’t hurt their ticket sales. Remember the Barry Sanders Lions?

      • kevin

        if your going to do a full rebuild then u trade all ur players over a certian age for picks and prospects. that’s how u build and u add a few vets to help the young guys but then when ur happen about the talent and ur going in right direction add some more fas that can help u win . no reason to add big priced fas till ur satisfied with the roster rebuild.

        but it’s hard to rebuild in one year in real life but it’s what the nfl wants. see in my ootp baseball game I can win 60 games then make 60 trades and rebuild in 1 year it’s a ton harder irl

      • tank62

        I have no problem with a team doing a rebuild, but as you point out, lower the ticket prices. The season ticket holders get screwed

  2. MileHighFan

    The NBA system stinks, as it still rewards a crappy team. If you want to use a weighted lottery then reward the teams that are the closest to being competitive, i.e., teams that just missed the playoffs.

    • That would be something! You could have the non-playoff teams drafting in reverse order (the team with the 18th worst record drafting 1st overall and the team with the worst record drafting 18th) and then the playoff teams drafting normally. I really like this idea as it would reward playing out the whole schedule.

  3. FWIW, I think the Dolphins got great returns for the players traded. Back to the old adage “everyone is available for trade at the right price”, they got the right price and acted on it. A LT, DB and a WR weren’t going to change the outcome of the Dolphins 2019 season

    • kevin

      the way I look at it . new regime new scheme. trade or release the guys that don’t fit , that what a trade and that are old . get younger guys with small contracts and build thu the draft untill ur at a point there some good fas can lift ur team to playoffs. then if a team wants to pay a random for a young guy let em . and trade the ones who don’t want to be there . it may look like tanking but it’s building right and it’s not tanking when ur signing vets and trading for players . it’s smart building when ur team was middle of the road .

  4. Jack0207

    I don’t think there is anything to see here. The Texans gave more in Tunsil trade than raiders got for Mack. Fitzgerald wanted out of Miami. They received fair value in the trade.

  5. amk3510

    How can you punish a team for this. Sorry they weren’t content with being mediocre every season and decided to tear it all down? Sorry the Texans made a crazy offer for Tunsil and Stills. How dare they not want a ceiling of 7-9

  6. Mark1024

    What makes the dolphins a lock for the no 1 pick?
    Jets 0-2 train wreck
    Giants 0-2 see above
    Carolina 0-2 anything Cam happen
    Pittsburgh 0-2 unproven an but better chance not to finish horrible
    Redskins 0-2 well they are the redskins!!!

    Plus the nfc east plays the afc east so there is head to head games between them

    • elscorcho the marlin
      elscorcho the marlin

      Giants and Carolina have turned things around, the jets will get their QB back soon, Dolphins have the Stealers first rounder, and Washington will beat the Phins next week. That’s how they will get the 1st pick.

  7. mcmillankmm

    If Trevor Lawrence was draft eligible for 2020 I would say its worth investigating…but they got a very nice offer for Tunsil and Stills, not like these guys are all-pro here…Tunsil extension eligible after the season and Stills is a mid tier WR…hard not to take it especially after Stills was taking shots at the team’s owner. Fitzpatrick wanted out and they got a 1st rounder for him.

    • mcmillankmm

      I guess he’s eligible now, but maybe they didn’t see him part of the team long-term and didn’t want to risk him sitting out without an extension

  8. TJECK109

    I think it’s evident that the Dolphins have already packed it in for this season but I don’t necessarily see it as tanking. How can anyone prove the players traded would have made up a 92 point scoring difference or even a 20 point difference. Each organization has a responsibility to put a quality product on the field, but would the quality have been that much different?

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      I’m not clear on the difference between “packing it in for the season” and “tanking.”

      • elscorcho the marlin
        elscorcho the marlin

        One is players giving up (which they haven’t), and other is leaders who form the team making sure the players can’t win.

  9. metsie1

    The NFL must be a real Inspector Clouseau operation. The Dolphins have basically done everything and anything to NOT win games this season. Yet, only now, has the Commish figured this out?
    Any “investigation” is just a charade anyway. Goodell won’t move against his owner bosses. This is all to make it look like the league is on the up and up.

  10. Misterants

    There’s a huge difference between tanking (ie trying to lose) and just allocating your resources for a stronger team in the future. This is how organizations rebuild – you trade top talent that would otherwise go to waste for draft capital. Is the Competition Committee made up of fresh high school grads this year??

  11. kaehlaone

    The only way I’d have an issue was if they were just giving guys away. The returns they’ve gotten have been at least fair and really very good. If a team needs a reset, so be it. It’s better to take a step back and develop young guys than to stay mediocre

  12. bowserhound

    The only thing the NFL can rationally do is limit the amount of trades a team can make during the season. The Dolphins would still be pathetic if they kept the 2 players mentioned.

    If they want to punish someone for tanking, fine the Jets for hiring Gase. That in itself is a huge red flag.

  13. “Five years ago, the committee questioned the Browns’ motives,”

    You could probably do this every year.

  14. badbart43

    This is ridiculous….if anyone watched last week’s game they would know that it was competitive from the Fins D until after the QB threw 2 pick 6’s….so the QB threw those on purpose? give me a break

  15. crosseyedlemon

    Uh…the Bills lost all 20 games they played against Miami during the 70s. Were they tanking too?

  16. comebackfins

    Any Dolphins fans complaining about tanking are ridiculous. were you happy going 7-9 or 8-8 every year and missing the playoffs? Was that a whole lot of fun?

  17. Beehivefarm

    The draft lottery is a failed system in that it does not improve teams. The Timberwolves have never drafted in their natural slot. If the Dolphins choose to tank, then so be it. It is their business decision.

  18. nentwigs

    If their other actions don’t indicate TANKING,
    the Dolphins even went out and signed a TANK !!

  19. Walkerama

    Not breaking a rule and if the NFL has an issue with this then let players declare for the draft when their ready instead of waiting 3 years. Miami wouldn’t have to tank if the best players were available in every draft

  20. greg7274

    Maybe they are… maybe they aren’t tanking.
    My issue is the NFL announces they’ll look into THIS…
    … but AB acts like a mental patient trying to get cut from a $30m contract, and signs for half with the Patriots within a few hours of finally getting cut (the same Patriots that Pittsburgh wouldnt trade him to)…
    …and the NFL doesnt bat an eye?

  21. Phattey

    Please keep the draft the way it is the nba draft is fixed and you’re a buffoon if you think otherwise

  22. At the end of the day, it was agreed between the NFL and the NFLPA that picks could be traded. Because of that, picks have value. The Dolphins will simply argue that they are trying to improve their capital because it’s best for the organization.

    There is no way the NFL can prove tanking – otherwise, conceivably, every player-for-picks trade can be labelled as making a team worse in the short term, but they won’t prosecute every team will they?

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