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#pounditMonday, August 8, 2022

Dolphins hit with huge penalties for tampering with Tom Brady, Sean Payton

Stephen Ross in a jacket

Sep 26, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross reacts during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have been hit with a series of penalties for violating the integrity of the game and tampering, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The league announced that the Dolphins have been stripped of their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick over tampering violations that commissioner Roger Goodell said were “of unprecedented scope and severity.” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also suspended through Oct. 17. banned from league meetings until 2023, and fined $1.5 million.

An investigation by the league found that the Dolphins did not intentionally lose games in 2019. However, owner Stephen Ross frequently made comments about prioritizing draft position over the team’s record to senior executives, which led then-coach Brian Flores to express concerns to management. Once Flores did so, the NFL said Ross stopped making the remarks.

The most damning findings, however, involved multiple tampering violations over several years involving both Tom Brady and Sean Payton. The NFL said the Dolphins had “impermissible communications” with Brady dating back to 2019, when he was still a member of the Patriots. This happened again in 2021, with the Dolphins discussing a potential executive role with Brady and his agent, which also included the possibility of playing for the team. Ross was directly involved in these discussions, according to the investigation.

The league also revealed that the Dolphins had spoken with Payton in January about becoming the team’s head coach without receiving permission from the New Orleans Saints. These discussions took place just before Payton stepped down as coach of the Saints, and before New Orleans officially denied the Dolphins’ request to speak to Payton.

The NFL investigation essentially confirms numerous stories claiming that the Dolphins had tried to recruit Brady multiple times in some high-ranking role, and also tried to make Payton head coach earlier this year.

The investigation did not confirm the most significant allegations made by Flores, and that one widely-reported comment was made in jest. The ultimate finding there is that while the Dolphins certainly prioritized draft position, they did not intentionally tank.

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