The Miami Dolphins reportedly have a succession plan in place.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “NFL owners have approved a succession plan for the Miami Dolphins that would give New York businessman Bruce Beal Jr. the right of first option to purchase the franchise should Stephen Ross, the current owner, die or decide to sell, according to league sources.”
The plan was proposed and approved at the NFL owners' meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.
La Canfora cited sources who said the 75-year-old “Ross wanted to be proactive in his approach…to avoid what can quickly become an ugly situation.” Ross doesn’t plan on selling the team in the immediate future (and it is not a guarantee that Beal Jr. will be the one to buy it), but this helps prevent something like what is facing the Tennessee Titans ownership.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk cited a source in March that said Tennessee’s ownership situation is “a mess,” and the league is “not satisfied by efforts to address issues with the hierarchy.”
Titans founder Bud Adams died in 2013 but did not give clear control to one person in the family and instead gave authority to three different sources.
As for the Dolphins, Beal Jr. is the president of Related Companies, which does real-estate business and is based in New York. La Canfora said Ross founded Related Companies in 1972 and stepped down as CEO in 2012, which opened the president position up for Beal. The two are close, and La Canfora added “one source said this was essentially akin to ‘keeping the team in the family.’”
La Canfora detailed Ross’ willingness to spend as the owner of the Dolphins and pointed to the almost $500 million he put into stadium renovations from his own pocket, the Ndamukong Suh deal he made last offseason and his previous efforts to land Jim Harbaugh as the team’s coach.
However, Miami hasn’t made the postseason since the 2008 campaign, when it lost in the Wild Card Round. Even that was only the first time the Dolphins reached the playoffs since the 2001 season, and they have taken a clear backseat to the New England Patriots and New York Jets in recent years in the AFC East.
While a succession plan is now in place that will ideally prevent any potentially ugly scenarios in the future, Miami’s fans would likely just be satisfied with improved play on the field.