For the first time in his unrivaled NFL career, Tom Brady will have an opportunity to sign with whichever team he pleases when his New England Patriots contract expires in March.
If the 42-year-old quarterback opts to leave New England, where might he fit? With the start of free agency still more than two months away, we’re taking a team-by-team look at some potential landing spots for the future Hall of Famer.
Next up: the Miami Dolphins.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE
Oodles of salary cap space, great weather, a big market and a wealthy, heath- and fitness-conscious community. From an off-the-field perspective, there’s a lot to like about Miami as a place for the aging Brady to bank a giant contract while growing his TB12 empire.
The football team has a few perks, as well. Wide receiver DeVante Parker is coming off by far the best season of his career despite catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen all year, and the Dolphins possess the money ($94 million in projected cap space, per Spotrac) and draft picks (six in the first 70 selections this year, including three first-rounders) necessary to address their (numerous) roster holes.
There’s also the Patriots connection with head coach Brian Flores, who led his team of misfits, castoffs and ex-practice squadders to five wins in its final nine games this season, including a stunning 27-24 road victory over Brady at the Patriots in Week 17.
WHY IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE
The Brady-to-Miami notion held a lot more water before the Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea and replaced him with veteran play-caller Chan Gailey. O’Shea, a former Patriots assistant, ran the same offense Brady has played in throughout his NFL career. Gailey favors a simpler, spread-based scheme.
According to some reports, Flores made the switch because O’Shea’s system was too difficult for Miami’s young players to pick up — an issue inexperienced receivers have dealt with for years in New England. Gailey also has a close connection to Fitzpatrick, whom the Dolphins likely will continue to ride as a bridge quarterback while developing one from this year’s draft class (Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, etc.).
And even without the change at OC, the Dolphins had one of the NFL’s least talented rosters in 2019. Fitzpatrick was their leading rusher. Their starting running back in December was a guy whose nickname is “The Intern.” Their patchwork offensive line allowed 58 sacks, tied for the most in the league. Their receiving corps had no one of note outside of Parker and undrafted rookie Preston Williams, who showed flashes before landing on injured reserve in November.
Flores is a very good coach, and the Dolphins have plenty of assets to improve in a hurry, but it’s hard to imagine them being a legit contender in 2020, even with Brady aboard.
The Patriots connections, cap space and allure of Miami put the Dolphins in the conversation of potential Brady landing spots, but the coordinator change likely took them out of the running.