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By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Hear Me Out: That one huge story that's been flying under the radar

 

April 21, 2022



A too-wild-to-be-true-but-certainly-plausible story dropped a couple of weeks ago and somehow just entered the public consensus last week. The story involved Tom Brady and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross orchestrating a way to get Brady to the Dolphins.

The Boston Globe and Pro Football Talk were the first big media outlets to report this story. Since the report is as unnecessary convoluted as a plot in “Westworld,” I’ll paraphrase the best I can.

Brady and Ross hatched a plan to get Brady to Miami by having Brady retire. Ross would then bring Brady to the Dolphins organization as a part-owner and have Brady in the front office in some high-ranking role. They’d bring in Sean Payton to coach for their next move, circumventing the Rooney Rule. (I can’t believe I forgot to bring up the Rooney Rule in my new policy for NFL owners) Then after some time passed, Brady was going to unretire, work out a trade for himself from the Bucs because he’s still under contract with them and then take over as the Dolphins new QB.


The plan was in place, and the first part was executed when Brady announced his retirement on Feb. 1. However, the plan blew up when former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the league for discrimination on the same day. Ross wanted to continue with the plan in the most billionaire move, but Brady told him it was off. The Glazers, the family that owns the Bucs, caught word of the scheme and convinced Brady to unretire.

That’s it.

That’s the entire story.

On the first read, it’s farfetched.

On the second read, it still reads like fiction.

But then you do a little digging into the dates, and oddly enough, they match up. Then you start looking into Brady’s retirement and unretirement, and something is off about it.

Normally, retired players get the itch to return around OTAs and training camps when that routine kicks in. Brady was like, “I’m back!” just over a month after retiring.

Occam’s Razor is an excellent principle to live by, but with this Brady-Dolphins story, the pieces don’t quite fit. There were the jokes about him hating his family and all that. Some, myself included, thought he looked at the NFC and realized how much of a cakewalk it became after some trades.


The thing is, the NFC was pretty weak last season. You had the Rams, Packers and Bucs as the serious contenders. After free agency this offseason, the Packers drop down a tier, leaving the Rams and Bucs as the top teams in the conference. Brady already had an easy path to the Super Bowl, his returning to the Bucs because of that doesn’t hold.

The other excuse made for Brady was that he didn’t get along with head coach Bruce Arians, and that’s why he retired. It has been well documented that Brady and Arians haven’t meshed well, but they found ways to work together. (There’s a message in there somewhere.) Things got a little worse last season when Brady and OC Byron Leftwich would create the week’s gameplan, only for Arians, who was rehabbing an Achilles injury, to join in late in the week and start hacking their work apart. When Brady unretired, a few weeks later, it was announced that Arians was stepping down as head coach and moving into the front office.

That move by Arians isn’t surprising. However, that being the reason Brady retired doesn’t hold up either. Brady could have easily asked for an ultimatum between him and Arians, and he would have won because he just did it and won easily.

So why play the retire-unretire game?

Brady’s been doing the media rounds talking about why he came back, saying it was his love of the game. I’d buy it if all of this is coming out leading up to the start of the season. Pushing out these types of stories this early feels coordinated in a way that’s trying to distract from the real story and/or provide some legal shielding.

To quote Sherlock Holmes, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

The other thing holding this up is the reporting, specifically the story in the Boston Globe. It feels TMZ-ish, but again, the pieces fit better in that wild story than any of the excuses.

Brady has accomplished nearly everything as a player, but football is life for Brady. (Tom “Danny Rojas” Brady) He’s not going to just walk away from the game forever. The next logical step in his football journey is the front office or ownership. It sounds like this is something Brady has been floating out there too, and it makes sense that a desperate owner like Ross would be willing to offer a portion of his team for a shot at the Lombardi.

Reading and listening to other NFL insiders, they all appear to back up the core of the Brady-Dolphins story. It seems like most of the league knew some form of the story and was not surprised when it broke.

If this story is true, what happens? I would assume Ross and the Dolphins will be penalized like no team has been penalized before for all the tampering. Just combine the punishments from Spygate, Deflategate and Bountygate.

While being hated for winning, Brady hasn’t gone through a terrible scandal. (Deflategate was a joke.) He’s one of the best QBs at giving an answer without really saying anything and is likable for that. That all changes if this story holds true. It wouldn’t be that hard of a hit on, but it’d be a hit on a rather spotless reputation.

There is one person to feel bad for in all of this mess, Tua Tagovailoa. Tua has not lived up to the hype, and it has only been made worse with Justin Herbert’s moonshot to superstardom. While he has been bad, Tua hasn’t been fully supported by the Dolphins. Miami’s O-line has been among the worst units the past two seasons. While Flores was great with the defense, he struggled to find an offensive coordinator. They improved the pass catchers in Year 2, but the run game is nonexistent because that O-line is awful.

Then there are all the trade rumors he’s had to deal with over the past season. He’s been linked in nearly every trade imaginable. There were even rumors of the Dolphins reaching out to the Vikings asking about Kirk Cousins. Kirk. Cousins.

Tua should ball out for the remainder of his contract with Miami, refuse to re-sign with them and hit free agency. Go find that team that wants him in the building. And if the ‘Fins threaten to franchise tag him, play hardball. Anything to get out of that cesspool that Ross has created.

Sometime in the future, we could find out just how much of the Brady-Dolphins story is legit. Flores won’t be dropping his lawsuit any time soon, and he’s got receipts, lots and lots of receipts. If Flores’ lawsuit hits the discovery phase, buckle up because as crazy as this Brady-Dolphins story is, it might seem quaint to what leaks out from discovery.

 
 

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