The Miami Dolphins have been stripped of their 2023 first round pick, among other penalties, after an investigation found them guilty of “unprecedented” tampering involving star quarterback Tom Brady.
Miami have also lost their 2024 third-round pick after owner Stephen Ross and vice chairman Bruce Beal were found to have violated the NFL anti-tampering rules.
ESPN have reported that Beal was behind the “impermissible communications” with Brady, while he was under contract with the New England Patriots.
Brady had been approached from August 2019 through to the playoffs that season, with “numerous and detailed discussions” having taken place with Beal.
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The seven-time Super Bowl champion was tampered with again after the 2021 season while he was playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before his brief retirement.
These discussions were centered around Brady potentially becoming a limited partner and potentially an executive at the Dolphins, as well as the team’s quarterback.
The six-month investigation concluded that the Dolphins had also tampered with rival coach Sean Payton, after they held conversations with his agent Don Yee that went against league rules.
Ross was fined $1.5 million, and can’t go to the Dolphins facility or represent the club at NFL gatherings after being banned by the NFL until October 17.
“The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“I know of no prior instance of a team violating the prohibition on tampering with both a head coach and star player, to the potential detriment of multiple other clubs, over a period of several years.
“Similarly, I know of no prior instance in which ownership was so directly involved in the violations.”
Beal has also been punished, having been fined $500,000 and banned from league meetings for the 2022 season.
Ross said that while he doesn’t agree with the punishment from the NFL, he wouldn’t challenge their decisions.
The Miami owner believes that it’s in the best interests of the team that he doesn’t take the matter any further.
“With regards to tampering, I strongly disagree with the conclusions and the punishment,” Ross said in a statement.
“However, I will accept the outcome because the most important thing is that there will 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.”
Tanking allegations raised by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores again Ross, including financial incentives and other encouragement to deliberately lose games, were not punished.
“The probe supported Flores and concerns about comments made by Ross, but found there were no serious offers made to reward losing games.