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Dolphins Lose Draft Picks for Brady, Payton Tampering; Stephen Ross Suspended

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The Miami Dolphins will forfeit their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft and their third-round pick in the 2024 draft after violating the league’s rules on tampering, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Here is the notice and penalties the NFL is imposing on the Dolphins for Integrity-Of-The-Game Violations: <a href=”https://t.co/Qk8KNaALyN”>pic.twitter.com/Qk8KNaALyN</a>

Owner Stephen Ross will also be suspended through Oct. 17, 2022, and he has been fined $1.5 million. Vice-chairman Bruce Beal was fined $500,000 and will not be eligible to attend league meetings.

Ross released a statement following the NFL’s announcement:

The NFL found after a six-month investigation that the Dolphins had impermissible contact with Tom Brady, both while he was under contract with the New England Patriots in 2019 and when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. The team also spoke to the agent of Sean Payton while he was still the head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported in February the Dolphins’ plan was to pursue Brady and Payton this offseason. Both retired from their roles, although Brady eventually returned to the Buccaneers.

The NFL’s investigation came after a lawsuit filed by former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who alleged racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

In addition to details of teams violating the NFL’s Rooney Rules, the lawsuit stated Ross pressured Flores to “recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules.”

Flores had spent 15 years on the Patriots staff while Brady was the quarterback.

The lawsuit also alleged the Dolphins engaged in tanking while Flores was the head coach, with Ross offering $100,000 for each loss during the 2019 season. The NFL’s latest investigation determined Miami did not intentionally lose games that year and the offer from Ross was not serious.

Commissioner Roger Goodell still indicated Ross should understand the weight of his words.

“Even if made in jest and not intended to be taken seriously, comments suggesting that draft position is more important than winning could be misunderstood and carry with them an unnecessary potential risk to the integrity of the game,” Goodell said.

Flores released a statement after Tuesday’s decision:

Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley

Statement from Brian Flores <a href=”https://t.co/G538eTNOLi”>pic.twitter.com/G538eTNOLi</a>

The Dolphins eventually hired Mike McDaniel as the team’s head coach while Tua Tagovailoa remains the starting quarterback heading into 2022.

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