Dolphins Fallout: Brady, Payton, Beal

There have been persistent rumors that the Dolphins’ pursuit of Tom Brady included a scenario where the quarterback would have become a minority owner of the franchise. As ESPN’s Jeff Darlington tweets, this hypothetical was never very realistic. If Brady wanted to both own and play for a team, the vote would have needed to go through a vote of all owners. It’s very unlikely that vote would have passed.

“Current policy stipulates that a current player or coach could have a financial interest in his or her club but only under an agreement affirmed by a vote of the 32 teams,” Darlington cites. “Among the considerations could be salary cap implications.”

Darlington details the chaos that could have followed Brady’s brief retirement if the QB decided to become an owner/player in Miami. Not only would Brady have had to get out of his Buccaneers contract, but he would also need rival organizations (including Robert Kraft in New England, Joel Glazer in Tampa, and many AFC foes) to agree to the arrangement. These organizations wouldn’t have necessarily been denying Brady’s chance to be an owner; rather, they would have been denying his chance to join a key opponent.

Some additional details regarding the Dolphins’ punishment:

  • Brady and former Saints coach Sean Payton will not face any discipline for their role in the Dolphins’ tampering. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), there were “no findings or discipline” besides those levied to the Dolphins organization.
  • Mike Florio of writes that Dolphins vice chairman Bruce Beal, who was suspended and fined for his role in the tampering scandal, may have been the reason the whole story “blew up.” Per Florio, Beal had been telling friends about Miami’s pursuit of Brady for more than a year. The executive wasn’t discreet, and Florio implies that his behavior may have come back to bite the organization.
  • Tom E. Curran of NBC Boston explored (on Twitter) what may have led to Brady’s “dalliance” with the Dolphins back in 2019. In August of that year, Brady inked a “phantom” two-year, $70MM extension with the Patriots that was actually a year-to-year, incentive-laden deal. So, with Brady “resigned to leaving,” he started considering his exit plan, and that included some flirting with Miami. As Curran notes, the Patriots’ unwillingness to truly extend Brady doesn’t excuse the QB, but it does illustrate “how betrayed Brady felt by August 2019.
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