Tom Brady, Sean Payton Joining Dolphins Next Year Isn't Rocket Science, NFL Exec Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 8, 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady smiles as he arrives for an NFL football news conference for new head coach Todd Bowles Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

At least one NFL executive believes there is a good chance quarterback Tom Brady and coach Sean Payton will join the Miami Dolphins in 2023.

According to Mike Sando of The Athletic, the anonymous exec said: "If Tom Brady does not redo his contract, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that Brady and Sean are going to be in Miami next year."

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported Thursday that Brady had been planning to join the Dolphins as a minority owner when he retired on Feb. 1. The plan then would have been for Miami to acquire Payton to be the head coach, followed by Brady coming out of retirement and the Dolphins acquiring his contractual rights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Dolphins reportedly decided to reverse course when former head coach Brian Flores filed a discrimination lawsuit against the organization on the same day Brady retired.

Brady still came out of retirement, but he will play for the Bucs once again in 2022.

Meanwhile, Payton decided to step away from coaching this season, which led to the Saints elevating defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Payton made it clear that he is not permanently retired, however, and may consider head-coaching opportunities in the future.

Brady has only one year remaining on his contract, meaning he could conceivably play anywhere he desires in 2023 if he chooses to continue his playing career.

The 44-year-old veteran has already firmly established himself as the greatest player of all time at his position with seven Super Bowl wins, five Super Bowl MVP awards and three NFL MVP awards to his credit, but he continues to perform at an elite level.

Last season, Brady finished second in NFL MVP voting when he completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for the 13-4 Bucs.

Tampa fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, but the Buccaneers are considered top contenders to win it all in 2022.

While head coach Bruce Arians moved into a front office role, he is being replaced by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and most of the key players from the past two seasons are returning as well.

An eighth career Super Bowl win and second in three seasons is within reach for Brady, and if it comes to fruition, it is fair to wonder if that will affect his decision for 2023 and beyond.

If Brady does want to keep playing in 2023 and chooses to play for the Dolphins, Miami would likely have to move on from Tua Tagovailoa just three seasons into his career.

The trickier move would involve Payton since the Dolphins would have to send compensation to the Saints in order to land him. Miami also just hired former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel as its head coach this offseason.

Given that the Dolphins haven't reached the playoffs since 2016, the front office may be willing to move heaven and earth to land Brady and Payton next offseason, especially if they are left out of the playoffs again in 2022.