After the 2021 season, the Miami Dolphins had two high-profile targets on their radar: New Orleans Saints ex-coach Sean Payton and Tom Brady.
According to Pro Football Network’s Mike Florio, the Dolphins planned to pursue then-Saints coach Sean Payton to be head coach in the 2022 season, but the plan was “scrapped” after Brian Flores filed his lawsuit against the NFL.
It would have been one of the most gutsy moves of the past decade, though the odds of a double blockbuster trade like this happening are close to nil. Sean Payton could have his pick of almost any coaching job in the NFL in 2022, but he chose to take a hiatus instead and perhaps pursue a job in media.
Pro Football Network elaborated on the communication between Miami and New Orleans at the time:
"Team sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issues confirmed that the team contacted the Saints to seek permission to speak to Payton. The Saints declined the request."
New Orleans Saints ex-coach Sean Payton was targeted by Miami for 2022
Tom Brady, on his part, has retired from football (for the time being) and likely wouldn’t have considered playing for a non-Super Bowl contending team like the Dolphins.
Dolphins sources contend that the team also considered adding Brady as a minority owner of the franchise, but that those plans currently are “on hold.” Brady’s connection to Miami is much stronger than Payton’s reported connection to the team, and Brady may still become a prominent part of the franchise’s future.
Brady is long-time friends with Bruce Beal, the Dolphins’ vice chairman and partner poised to succeed Stephen Ross as the franchise owner. Back when Brady entered free agency in 2020, there was even chatter than Brady would join Miami as quarterback and a partial owner.
The GOAT left the door wide open on a potential return, but it seems he’s satisfied with hanging up his cleats for the 2022 season.
Though the Dolphins’ dream of getting both Sean Payton and Tom Brady quickly went up in smoke, the whole proposition is entertaining in retrospect. Payton and Brady on the same side? Imagine what that would be like.