Tom Brady's Potential Dolphins Ownership Stake Would've Needed Approval of NFL Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 21, 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) calls a play against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
AP Photo/Jason Behnken

Other NFL teams could have stood in the way of Tom Brady's potential and reported plans to join the Miami Dolphins before he eventually decided to unretire and return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Greg Auman of The Athletic that any active player taking on an ownership stake with a franchise would need to be approved by three-quarters of the 32 teams since it could be a way to circumvent the salary cap.

Earlier this month, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Brady initially considered becoming a minority owner for the Dolphins when he retired and then eventually returning to the field if Miami was able to get his contractual rights from Tampa Bay.

According to Florio, the Dolphins also planned on pursuing New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton but ended their consideration when former Miami head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its teams alleging racist hiring practices and discrimination.

Flores alleged Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 for each loss during the 2019 season as a way of incentivizing tanking and improving draft position. Flores also said Ross tried to pressure him into violating NFL tampering rules by recruiting a "prominent quarterback" whom Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post later reported was Brady.

Auman explained the speculation about Miami's plans to team up Brady and Payton has been dismissed by multiple sources, including Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, former Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians and Payton himself.

Auman also reported the Saints declined when the Dolphins sought permission to interview Payton.

As for Brady, his return means Tampa Bay is once again on the short list of realistic Super Bowl contenders.

After all, the seven-time champion completed 67.5 percent of his passes for a league-best 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season and showed no signs of his age even at 44 years old.

He will also be a free agent in 2023 if he remains on his current contract, so perhaps he will have a chance to play for the Dolphins by taking a different path should he choose to sign with the AFC East team next offseason.