The NFL punished the Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross on Tuesday, August 2, for talking without permission to Brady about playing in Miami in 2019 and 2021. Brady was under contract with the New England Patriots in 2019 and the Bucs in 2021 when the illegal conversations, per NFL rules, took place.
“Brady might not be facing sanctions, but this entire thing won’t sit well in the locker room,” Verderame wrote. “[The] Bucs’ players have to be looking at their leader and wondering if he’s really all-in.”
Brady, 44, retired on February 1, around the same time the Dolphins were facing a discrimination lawsuit from former head coach Brian Flores. The lawsuit brought to light Miami’s interest in Brady. Forty-one days later, on March 13, Brady ended his retirement and returned to the Bucs.
Brady hasn’t shown signs of slowing down since, and he has expressed focus on winning another Super Bowl with the Bucs in the 2022 season. He also notably didn’t deny talking with the Dolphins in a June press conference, but he also didn’t mention the Dolphins specifically.
Ross was suspended until October 17 and fined $1.5 million. Also, the Dolphins were stripped of their 2023 first-round draft pick and their 2024 third-round pick.
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NFL’s Decision on Brady
Brady won’t face repercussions for talking with the Dolphins, ESPN’s Jenna Laine tweeted on August 2, quoting NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy.
The same goes for former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who also had been involved in talks with the Dolphins while under contract, McCarthy said, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Plans were for Payton to coach the Dolphins and for Brady to play quarterback as part-owner of the team.
“Basically, the team that does the tampering can be punished, but the player can’t,” Breech wrote. “If the Dolphins reached out to Brady first, then they were the ones who tampered. On the other hand, if Brady reached out first, then the Dolphins were supposed to report that to the NFL.”
Bucs-Dolphins Saga About to Get ‘A Little More Awkward’
Brady and the Dolphins saga won’t go away anytime soon for the Bucs because the teams are scheduled to meet for joint practices next week, which just became “a little more awkward,” according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman.
Auman previously noted that Brady’s going to the Dolphins would have taken much more than a blockbuster trade with the Bucs. Former head coach Bruce Arians’ requirement of five first-round draft picks wouldn’t even suffice.
Three quarters of the 32 NFL teams would have needed to vote in favor of Brady taking on “any ownership stake with an NFL team” as confirmed by Murphy, Auman wrote.
The Bucs and Dolphins will meet for joint practices on August 10 and 11 followed by an August 13 preseason game.