The NFL handed down a bombshell punishment to the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, stripping them of two premium draft picks and suspending owner Stephen Ross for tampering as they tried to recruit Tom Brady.
As one might expect, Ross was not thrilled with the result.
“Ross is going apes–t,” a league source told Pro Football Talk.
As punishment for having “impermissible contact” with Brady while he was still under contract with the Buccaneers, the Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick in 2023, as well as a third-round selection in 2024. A significant punishment – especially for a team that, as was made clear by the findings, has a desire to upgrade at the quarterback position. Many are seeing this as a make-or-break season for third-year QB Tua Tagovailoa.
As part of the punishment, Ross has also been suspended until Oct. 17, and is not allowed at the team facility until then. He also faces a $1.5 million fine.
The investigation also noted that the team also had “impermissible contact” with former Saints head coach Sean Payton, whom it is no secret the team has shown an interest in since he resigned from his position in New Orleans. It also touched on claims from former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores that the team intentionally tanked for draft position in 2019 – and while it determined they did not “intentionally lose games,” it still found that Ross “expressed his belief that the Dolphins’ position in the upcoming 2020 draft should take priority over the team’s win-loss record.”
Ross released a statement Tuesday, after the ruling was handed down in which he vented some of his frustration.
“The independent investigation cleared our organization on any issues related to tanking and all of Brian Flores’ other allegations,” the statement read. “As I have said all along, these allegations were false, malicious and defamatory, and this issue is now put to rest. With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment. However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there be no distractions for our team as we begin an exciting and winning season. I will not allow anything to get in the way of that.”
If this upcoming season isn’t filled with as much “excitement” and “winning” as Ross expects, the lack of a first-round pick will make it much harder to change quarterbacks if they decide to go that route – unless, of course , Brady decides to join the team anyway.