The Dolphins are facing a rarity in 2023: they won’t have a first-round selection in next year’s NFL Draft despite not trading it away.
Miami lost its 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick in the 2022 offseason as punishment for tampering related to attempts to acquire Tom Brady and Sean Payton. The league’s investigation found “tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity.” Team owner Stephen Ross was suspended through Oct. 17, which means he will likely be back at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday for the team’s game vs. the Steelers.
Brady and Payton both retired last offseason, with the former coming out of retirement shortly thereafter. Payton is working as an analyst for Fox, but it has been heavily speculated that his exit from coaching is closer to a leave of absence than a full retirement.
Ross and the Dolphins deny any wrongdoing.
Why did the Dolphins lose a 2023 first-round draft pick?
The Dolphins lost two draft picks as punishment for having “impermissible communications” with Brady and Payton.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was pointed in his comments about Ross and the Dolphins.
I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years. Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.
As for the actual allegations, they date as far back as 2019.
Those communications began as early as August 2019 and continued throughout the 2019 season and post-season. These numerous and detailed discussions were conducted by Mr. Beal, who in turn kept Mr. Ross and other Dolphins executives informed of his discussions with Mr. Brady.
In this excerpt, Goodell is referring to Dolphins vice chairman Bruce Beal.
In 2021, talks shifted to Brady becoming an executive with Miami, with playing not off the table.
Those discussions began no later than early December 2021 and focused on Mr. Brady becoming a limited partner in the Dolphins and possibly serving as a football executive, although at times they also included the possibility of his playing for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins allegedly talked to Payton without permission from the Saints, with whom he is still under contract.
Miami did not seek consent from New Orleans to have these discussions, which occurred before Coach Payton announced his decision to retire as head coach of the Saints. Following that announcement, Miami requested permission to speak to Coach Payton for the first time, which New Orleans declined to grant.
What is the Dolphins’ 2022 record heading into Week 7?
After a 3-0 start, the Dolphins have been met with a lot of adversity. Tua Tagovailoa has been out since suffering with a scary-looking concussion on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 4, and they have lost their last three games to fall to 3-3. Tagovailoa is expected to return Sunday against the Steelers.
The Dolphins came into the week third in the AFC East behind the Bills and the upstart Jets.
While the 3-0 start bodes well for Miami, particularly with Tagovailoa returning, they’re playing for something else this year. Forfeiting a top-10 pick would hurt far more than forfeiting a pick in the 20s or 30s.