The Miami Dolphins' rollercoaster of offseason personnel moves began with the surprise dismissal of Brian Flores and ended with the hiring of Mike McDaniel. Quite a bit happened in between, including a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Flores that came with accusations of Stephen Ross trying to bribe Flores to lose games in pursuit of a high draft pick. The consequences of the lawsuit and those accusations have yet to be fully realized, but they will manifest in some way eventually.
On Monday morning, Mike Florio reported the Dolphins had very different plans for how this offseason was going to unfold. In fact, they were shooting for the stars. Florio reported for Pro Football Talk that, before the discrimination lawsuit was filed, Miami wanted to try to steal Sean Payton away from New Orleans and then possibly bring Tom Brady into the mix, too. Per PFT:
Per multiple sources, and as first revealed on Monday’s PFT Live, the Dolphins planned to pursue Sean Payton to be the coach and Tom Brady to be the starting quarterback. The plan was scrapped after Brian Flores filed his lawsuit against the NFL generally and the Dolphins, Giants, and Broncos specifically.
Team sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issues confirmed that the team contacted the Saints to seek permission to speak to Payton.
As far as the Brady aspect of this goes, Florio does not report anything specific as to the idea that Miami would have been interested in bringing him in as a quarterback other than including that tidbit in the headline. Florio does report that the Dolphins are very interested in possibly bringing the all-time great QB aboard as a minority owner-- once his retirement is actually set in stone later this year.
As to Brady, Dolphins sources contend that internal discussions occurred regarding the possibility of adding Brady as a minority owner, but that those considerations currently are on hold. The delay, per Dolphins sources, has nothing to do with the lawsuit; it’s more about the uncertain status of Brady’s retirement from playing. Once it’s clear he’s not coming back to play for the Buccaneers or some other team, the plan for selling a piece of the team to Brady could proceed.
Reading between all the various lines here, it seemed like the Dolphins really wanted Payton after his retirement indicated he wouldn't be married to the Saints for life. If Payton agreed to come aboard, then Miami would have tried to go after Brady as the "package" deal Florio is describing, although it's unclear exactly how they planned to do that with Brady still under contract with the Buccaneers. But any hope of Payton went out the window with the lawsuit, which was filed on the same day Brady officially retired.
Florio yet again reported that there are few around the league who believe Brady is truly done and that his return with a team other than Tampa Bay is a possibility. In that case, maybe Brady goes to the Dolphins. It remains unclear why there is so much optimism within the Dolphins' building that the most competitive quarterback of all time would be eager to join a team very far from championship contention, but Miami keeps coming up when Brady's name is mentioned. When there's smoke, I guess.