Making the case for Tom Brady to join Miami Dolphins
With Tom Brady becoming a free agent for just the second time in his 5,000-year career, it's time to seriously consider what the quarterback might do in 2023. That is, provided the quarterback who will turn 46 years old this summer decides to continue his fight against Father Time by playing in his 24th NFL season. Each day, we'll explore one possible option for Brady. We've looked at the Las Vegas Raiders and the New York Jets before tackling the possibility of the New England Patriots. Today it's the Miami Dolphins' turn.
BOSTON -- We all feel fairly comfortable in assuming that Tom Brady is all done with Tampa. But what if he wants to stay in state?
Tom Brady joining the Miami Dolphins is certainly not a crazy idea, as seemingly both the player and the team have wanted each other in the recent past. The Dolphins may also have some uncertainty at the quarterback position, too, and Brady's ex-wife and children are apparently Miami residents now.
There's a lot of reasons to believe Miami may be the final destination of Brady's career.
The Case For
Start with this: If Tua Tagovailoa had the season he just had without suffering three concussions, then there'd be little doubt about his status with the Dolphins. Alas, Tua Tagovailoa did suffer three concussions last season, one of which created a rather frightening scene in Cincinnati, and there has to be some real questions about his health. Those questions can't be answered swiftly or completely this offseason ... but giving his body and brain ample recovery time would be the best course of action as far as both Tua and the Dolphins should be concerned.
And who better to fill in as a short-term fix than a 46-year-old GOAT?
Getting Brady obviously would not be a long-term decision, at least not in an on-field capacity. Joining the ownership group, well, that's a different story.
It also might be an ideal landing spot for Brady from a football sense, with the likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the outside, the Dolphins' offense has a solid foundation heading into 2023. Brady still loves throwing the deep ball, and there's no better deep threat in the league than Hill. Miami would need to make an addition or two, and it's anyone's guess if Mike McDaniel's offensive philosophy jibes with Brady's. But if it's a football match, it's not too difficult to see the appeal of this union.
The league certainly wouldn't mind it, either, as it would guarantee two games between Brady and the Patriots, events which would get a whole lot of eyeballs focused on televisions.
The Dolphins were a playoff team -- barely -- at 9-8 last season. Theoretically, the addition of an all-time player like Brady could lift them even higher, and with the right moves, they'd certainly be getting some Super Bowl buzz if TB12 hopped aboard. (He'd probably need a new number though. Bob Griese's not unretiring 12 for him.)
The Case Against
For as much as outsiders may have some questions and concerns about the well-being of Tagovailoa, the NFL has not historically been known as a place that caters to such worries. It does feel that if Tua is cleared -- and, based on him being evaluated with a "back injury" after his very obvious first concussion last year -- then the Dolphins will roll back out there with No. 1 in the backfield next season. His league-best 105.5 passer rating last year was certainly enough for him to keep his job on a performance basis.
The aforementioned offensive approach from McDaniel may also not be a fit. McDaniel is 39 years old, so the idea of a traditional pocket passer may not be appealing. He also was rising in the ranks under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco when the 49ers didn't make a play for Brady in 2020, which could speak to that element.
From Brady's perspective, that Miami defense may be a problem. The Dolphins' defense allowed the seventh-most touchdowns in the NFL while intercepting the fourth-fewest passes. Opposing passers had a 95.3 rating, fifth-highest in the league. The team has fired defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, who was a holdover from Brian Flores' staff, and the turnaround on that side of the ball may be more than a one-year project.
Miami also doesn't have a first-round pick this year, a pick which they lost for ... tampering ... with ... Tom Brady. So making a high-impact pick will be challenging.
This may not be a real reason, but Brady's always struggled to win in Miami, going 8-10 there as a starter. He's 513-72 everywhere else. Has the issue been playing against the Dolphins, or has the issue been playing in Miami? After his first losing season ever in 2022, does he want to find out?
While it is far from a slam dunk the way that, say, Vegas might be ... the Dolphins are feasible here. They may not be perfect, per se, but if Brady put in a year of performance on the field before finding some type of space in the ownership corner of the organization, he could lay the groundwork for decades of business and living down in sunny Florida.
Plus, it would allow Brady to keep playing on the East Coast without forcing an awkward reunion in Foxboro and without having to play for ... the Jets.
It's hard to put a percentage on any of these things, but it's even harder to dismiss this possibility. It's not likely, no. But it's possible.
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