The Miami Dolphins, division rivals of the Buffalo Bills, had the hammer dropped on them by the NFL after commissioner Roger Goodell and partnering law offices concluded an investigation into the team.
The NFL has come down with strong penalties to the Dolphins organization that is highlighted by a forfeiture of the team’s first-round selection in 2023 and their third-round pick in 2024. Owner Stephen Ross also faces a lengthy suspension and a large fine. The full breakdown of penalties is laid out in the tweet below from NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.
The origins of the investigation began when former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and three teams (including the Dolphins). Amongst the complaints, Flores alleged that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him a $100,000 bonus for each loss during the 2019 season.
The most significant portion of the report comes from another topic at hand—tampering with NFL superstar Tom Brady and potential future Hall of Fame head coach Sean Payton. Miami’s contact with Brady dated as far back as 2019 when he was still a member of the New England Patriots. These communications once again ramped up in the latter stages of the 2021 season when Brady was still a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It wasn’t done there. The organization once again tampered in January of 2022 with then New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s agent. Payton had not yet retired when this action took place.
In other words, the Dolphins were not even trying to hide that they were tampering with two of the biggest names in all of football. Of course, Miami came away acquiring neither of these assets.
The NFL ruled that the Dolphins did not try to lose games in 2019 despite the fact that Ross was on record to say the 2020 draft position was more important than the season outcome in that particular year. You can find the entirety of the report below.
It should be noted that Miami still has ownership of the San Francisco 49ers’ first-round draft selection in 2023, but these penalties are stiff and could have been worse had Stephen Ross’s comments been taken more seriously by decision makers in the investigation.
If unproven Tua Tagovailoa is not the answer at quarterback for the Bills’ division foe, the draft capital hit taken here makes the opportunity to find the answer that much more difficult.