Dolphins reportedly were ready to sign Sean Payton to a $100 million contract

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For those of you who frequent this specific digital destination and/or who watch or listen to PFT Live, you already know that the Dolphins wanted to hire Sean Payton to be the team’s next head coach, with the idea of also securing the services of quarterback Tom Brady. You also know that the lawsuit filed by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores (on the same day Brady announced his short-lived retirement) blew it all up.

It was, as we’ve said many times since late February, a done deal. It was happening. It was lined up. It was just a matter of time.

During Super Bowl week, Brady would have been introduced as a minority owner of the Dolphins. After that, the Dolphins would have worked out a deal with the Saints for Payton, with at least a first-round pick going from Miami to New Orleans. Then, presumably after the Buccaneers had acquired a new starting quarterback via trade or free agency, a deal would have been struck between Miami and Tampa Bay for Brady to play for the Dolphins.

Yes, it was happening. Indeed, it was a done deal. It has been the most underreported story of the offseason, in large part because it wasn’t first reported by and/or NFL Media. They’ve since both largely ignored and/or downplayed it, because it wasn’t theirs.

That doesn’t make it any less true.

Recently, multiple reports added a key detail to the equation. The Dolphins were ready to give Payton a $100 million contract.

Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported late last week that it would have been $20 million per year over five years for Payton. Albert Breer of reported on Monday that it actually would have been $100 million over four years.

Whether four or five years, it’s no surprise, given that: (1) the deal was done; and (2) the coaching market is in the process of going haywire.

Obviously, it didn’t happen. Come next year, someone surely will make another run at Payton. The Panthers already have been linked to Payton. As explained in Playmakers, the Cowboys were poised to replace Jason Garrett with Payton in early 2019, but a strange turn of events involving the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis scuttled what was, at the time, a done deal.

Other teams may be interested in Payton come 2023. He’s clearly in play for next year. He’s a proven commodity. And it’s now clearly known that he’ll be ready to coach again. He nearly did, without a break.

But for the Flores lawsuit, it would have happened. Payton and Brady to Miami. Brady, reunited with an old-school Parcells disciple who burns the midnight oil and demands a high degree of accountability from his players. Just like Bill Belichick.

To understand Brady’s attraction to Payton is to better understand Brady’s desire (however it was articulated to the Buccaneers) to swap Bruce Arians for Todd Bowles, another Parcells protege. Although Brady couldn’t take a day more than 20 years with Belichick, Brady knows the value of hard coaching, for him and for the rest of the team. A coach who works and works and works and works and who expects a similar commitment from his players. That’s what Brady wanted, and that’s what he almost got in Miami.

Let’s spin it forward, on both counts. Could Payton and Brady, who will be a free agent in 2023, eventually team up elsewhere? That all depends on where Payton goes, and whether that team needs a quarterback. Miami, still a potential Brady destination, won’t be changing coaches after one year with Mike McDaniel. The Cowboys, if Payton lands there, won’t be changing quarterbacks.

Could it be Carolina? It’s hard to imagine the Saints trading Payton’s rights within the division. Still, when assessing the potential spots on both the coaching and quarterback carousels after the upcoming season ends, it makes sense to keep an eye out for the possibility, slim as it may currently seem, for the planets to align in a way that results in an otherwise contending team looking for both a new coach and a new quarterback. That team, if there is one that fits the description, could be the next team that tries to land both Payton and Brady.

22 responses to “Dolphins reportedly were ready to sign Sean Payton to a $100 million contract

  1. Brady ain’t going anywhere that is 2-4 years away from building up enough talent to compete for a SB. So you need a roster that already has playoff potential or an existing playoff pedigree AND a shaky QB situation AND a coaching situation that is deteriorating and may crack open by the time 2023 gets here.

    I say look to the NFC West. Seattle and/or San Francisco.

  2. As a Dolphins fan I’m thankful this did not happen.
    Both are way too old and living on fumes.

  3. The NFL desperately needs Payton to coach a team. Where else will they find someone capable of sharing inspirational messages based on a Chumbawumba song?

  4. Thank you Brian Flores.

    Signed, all Bills fans even if they don’t want to admit it.

  5. (1) If true, then Brian Flores discrimination lawsuit really does have no merit. Firing Flores as part of a Brady-Payton plan is NOT based on race;
    (2) Did Flores sue to stop the plan from happening?

  6. Unlike the colossal error of judgment in his choice of high-profile head coach made by the goof in JAX up the road, Sean actually has experience and success coaching in the NFL.

  7. This may be wishful thinking, but…if Payton makes it through the first year without coaching, then the chances increase exponentially that he will never coach again. While he loved his job, I think he reached a point that he had had enough.

    No matter the outcome, he has more than earned the right to do what he wants. No matter what, someday they will have a statue of Payton and Brees outside the Superdome, as they both turned a laughingstock franchise into a perennial power, and gave life to a region devastated by Katrina. Folks on the outside will never understand the importance of that in this region

  8. Peyton is done with coaching. Only place he would un-retire for would be new orleans. He is a man of his word.

  9. I don’t understand all that goes behind the scenes, but one thing has become clear to me….guys do NOT like playing for Bruce Arians.

  10. Dolphin fanboys will be here telling everyone this is bunk and that McDaniel and his staff are exactly what the Dr ordered. They will make Tua elite. Chris Grier FINALLY got it right with this staff. They will finally lead us to the Great Pumpkin.

  11. This story has been under reported in large part due to the over reporting of every breath Aaron Rodgers takes.

  12. I believe this was Flores last attempt to give the Fins the middle finger. He knew his time in Miami was up as he had lost the locker room and his antics were no longer welcomed in Miami. What better way to blow things up than to play the race card and stop Miami from finding a successor that would’ve guaranteed to show Flores was a joke.

  13. But… why?
    There is no coach who has done less with more than Sean Payton in the last dozen years. The Saints were never short on talent, yet for the past twelve years always came up comically short in the playoffs.
    Three consecutive years with a 7-9 record despite having a hall of fame quarterback doesn’t look all that impressive either.
    The Dolphins dodged an expensive self-targeted bullet.

  14. How does a team create a scenario like this with a coach that is under contract for the next year? Where is the penalty for essentially getting him to resign prematurely from the Saints?

  15. Miami, still a potential Brady destination, won’t be changing coaches after one year with Mike McDaniel.

    What in the WORLD makes you think that? If they have the chance to get Brady, they say “See Ya” to Tua.

  16. Some questions and a comment:
    1. Given the Salary Cap — How is it possible to be a Player/Owner in the NFL?

    2. How is any of this with Tom Brady NOT considered tampering? If all that is said is true — clearly the Dolphins “tampered” with a player under contract for another team.

    3. Is there a no tampering clause with Coaches? As with Brady — it is clear Miami tampered by making this arrangement with Sean Payton.

    4. If Belichick decides to leave the NFL for Lacrosse, maybe Payton and Brady can head back to New England and take over the Patriots…(tongue in cheek)

  17. “I don’t understand all that goes behind the scenes, but one thing has become clear to me….guys do NOT like playing for Bruce Arians.”

    We saw enough with the Cardinals where it was clear why guys don’t like him. Nothing is ever his fault and he’ll throw anybody under the bus to keep from accepting any responsibility. And his offense is straight out of the 1970s back when the rules favored the D so you were willing to throw a lot of INTs as long as you got the occasional game-changing big play. He was bad enough when he was actually doing the work; hard to imagine what he must have been like with the Bucs where he’d be MIA all week and then swoop in at the 11th hour and try to change the whole gameplan.

  18. Getting Payton and Brady would’ve been a game changer but for how long? Maybe I’m an outsider but I’m extremely pleased with the hire of McDaniel. I’m optimistic every year with the Dolphins but for some reason, this upcoming season is a little different. I love brining in a young guy like McDaniel who some consider in the league to be an offensive genius. His demeanor he’s brought to Miami is something the organization hasn’t seen in quite some time. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but overall I’m happy he is now the coach of the Miami Dolphins.

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