Could the Miami Dolphins’ 2020 starting quarterback not be someone currently playing college football, but rather be a 20-year veteran from an AFC East rival? Could a 13 time Pro Bowl selection, three-time First-Team All-Pro selection, three-time NFL season passing yardage leader, three-time league MVP, six-time Super Bowl champion, and four-time Super Bowl MVP move to South Florida? Could the Dolphins 2020 campaign not rest on the shoulders of a first-round draft pick, but rather on a 2000 sixth-round pick?
Could Tom Brady be the next starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins?
Speculation that the New England Patriots quarterback could be on the move next season began back in October when ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested on air the possibility. Schefter pointed to indicators like Brady selling his Boston area home, as well as his personal trainer selling his home. Brady’s contract is set to void after this season, which Schefter suggests makes Brady more likely to move to a new team or retire than he is to return to the only team for which he has played as a professional.
Things had quieted some on the Brady-on-the-move front until Monday, when NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom Curran made an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. Curran began his appearance saying there needs to a a “radical course change” to avoid a “divorce” between Brady and the Patriots. He added that it could be an amicable divorce, with both sides just deciding to separate, or it could get ugly, but that it “certainly does seem” Brady will be leaving the Patriots.
Curran continued, saying the Patriots could be looking at the issue of paying Brady $27 million a year - about what former Patriots quarterback Jim Garrappolo is receiving from the San Francisco 49ers - and have problems agreeing to pay a quarterback who will be 43 next year that much of the salary cap. That could lead to Brady looking for a different team for 2020, and, when he finds the “right situation” he will go to that team. Curran says, “I don’t think retirement is anywhere in his sights.”
Curran qualifies his remarks saying, “I am just speaking of my perspective. No one is telling me how it is going to play out. I am just watching the way things are adding up.” He described it as “informed opinion.”
After explaining how he believes the Patriots and Brady reached this impasse, Curran provided a scenario he thinks makes sense for the quarterback. “What would be ideal? Honestly, Rich, knowing who he is, since he has been in the public consciousness for 20 years and more, he wants to be able to prove something to somebody who thought he couldn’t do something. That he was unable to continue a level. And that’s why I keep coming back to the Miami Dolphins as a possibility.”
Curran went on to explain why the Dolphins seem a likely destination for Brady. “You’ve got your Michigan man, friend, Stephen Ross in charge. It’s got Jerry Schuplinski as quarterbacks coach. Chad O’Shea as your offensive coordinator and Brian Flores as the head coach. It’s got defensive personnel on the other side. It’s certainly got a culture, I think, that’s being instilled this year. So there, or Los Angeles [Chargers], would be the two prime places.”
Eisen seemed to like the idea of the Chargers as a possibility, with the team looking to “shake things up” as they move into their new stadium and it would keep Brady from having to play the Patriots and Bill Belichick twice a season. The conversation turned to the Patriots and how the fans are booing, but the Dolphins being the top contender, at least to Curran, is interesting.
He laid out a great set of reasons for it to make sense to Brady to move to Miami. Schuplinski is in his first year as Miami’s assistant quarterbacks coach after six years as an offensive assistant for the Patriots, including 2016 through 2018 as the team’s assistant quarterbacks coach. (Schuplinski is still listed as the assistant quarterbacks coach, though Jim Caldwell, Miami’s assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach, is on a leave of absence for health reasons and is only serving in a consultant role this year.)
O’Shea, in his first season as Miami’s offensive coordinator, served as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach from 2009 through 2018.
Flores, in his first season as the Dolphins’ head coach, worked with the Patriots from 2004 through 2018 in roles in the scouting department, as an offensive and special teams assistant, then up through the defense as a defensive assistant, safeties coach, linebackers coach, and de facto defensive coordinator.
Miami has a bunch of New England ties, which could make for a soft landing for Brady, while providing him a chance at success separate from Belichick. Brady could be looking for that chance to prove he is the reason for the Patriots’ success over the past 20 years.
For Miami, it could also make sense. The team is projected to have the most salary cap space in the league in 2020. They could also be looking to select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in this spring’s NFL Draft, despite a hip injury that could force him to miss his rookie season. Could Miami convince Brady to come to the Dolphins, play for a year or two as the starter while mentoring a rookie who cannot immediately take the field?
It is probably not something that will happen, but it is starting to pick up some traction as a possibility. The Dolphins have committed themselves to rebuilding the franchise “the right way” and throwing a ton of money at a big named free agent simply to win now would seem to go against that possibility. However, the Tagovailoa injury could force Miami to adjust their plans some, if he really is their primary draft target. They may need a veteran to hold on to the position until Tagovailoa is fully prepared to start.
Miami could choose to stick with current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick next season, or they could look to move to Josh Rosen, currently backing up Fitzpatrick, for the 2020 season if he has shown the growth they believe could make him a viable option. In 12 games, with 10 starts, Fitzpatrick ha thrown for 2,511 yards with a 62.2 percent completion rate with 13 touchdowns and 12 interception, giving him an 80.6 passer rating. Rosen has appeared in six games this season, starting three times, throwing for 567 yards on 53.2 percent completions with one touchdown and five interceptions, giving him a 52.0 passer rating.
How would you react to Brady in aqua? My reaction when I saw the above tweet from Matt Cannata was:
That said, it would be fun to see if Brady could take it to the Patriots twice a year. It would feel like the Dolphins had joined the dark side in order to beat the dark side, rather than having risen up to take down the Empire, but it could be fun. There are reasons it makes sense - though it would feel really, really strange to root for Brady.
And, I would no longer be able to laugh at sad Brady.