The Miami Dolphins wanted Sean Payton so badly this offseason that that they were apparently ready to offer him a record-setting contract.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Dolphins were ready to offer Payton a five-year deal worth $100 million to coach the team, which would have made it just the second known $100 million coaching contract, but with one key difference. When Jon Gruden got his $100 million contract with the Raiders in 2018, that was for 10 years, which means it was paying out $10 million per season. On the other hand, Payton’s deal only would have covered five seasons, which means it would have paid him an astronomical sum of $20 million per year if it had gotten done, but obviously, it never happened.
This is just a new crazy twist in an offseason that has been full of them when it comes to the Dolphins, Payton and Tom Brady.
There has been speculation floating around all offseason that the Dolphins had a secret plan in place to land both Brady and Payton this year, and although both guys have been given the chance to shoot down the speculation, neither of them have really denied anything this offseason.
Brady had a chance to shoot down the rumors last week when he was asked if he talked with the Dolphins about possibly joining the team in 2022 — as an owner or player — and he definitely didn’t deny it.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people, as I’ve had for the past three or four years in my career, about different opportunities when I’m done playing football. I kind of made a decision of what I’d like to do,” Brady said. “I’ll get to be in the game of football. … The most important thing is where I’m at now and what I hope to do for this team. That’s been my commitment, to this team and this organization.”
The 44-year-old could have simply said ‘no, I didn’t talk to the Dolphins,’ but instead, he all but confirmed that there were at least some conversations.
Sean Payton also had a chance to shoot down the rumors back in April when he was asked about the speculation at a golf tournament. Although Payton claimed to know nothing about the Brady rumors, he did mention that intermediaries did talk on his end.
“I have no clue about the Tampa Bay, Miami Dolphin, Tom Brady rumor,” Payton said. “My understanding is that there a request was put in or that intermediaries talked. I’m like the rest of you. I heard that story.”
In that same interview, Payton also said that if he had decided to coach in 2022, it would have been with the Saints.
“If I would have been ready to coach like this year, I would have stayed in New Orleans,” Payton said. “And so it’s nice to have someone interested and, yeah, that’s about it. Look, our focus on Tom Brady has been beating him, not joining him.”
For the Dolphins, landing Payton wouldn’t have been easy. Since he’s still under contract with the Saints, they would have had to pull off a trade for him. That being said, if they were willing to give him a $100 million contract, you can bet they would have been willing to give up a pick or two to make a deal happen.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Dolphins reached out to the Saints about a possible trade at the end of January, but New Orleans shot down their initial request. There was no second request because the Dolphins’ plans quickly fell apart on Feb. 1 when Brian Flores filed his lawsuit against the team.
According to PFT, the Dolphins were hoping to make an announcement about Brady joining their ownership group the week before the Super Bowl, but before that could happen, the team was hit with the Flores lawsuit, which was filed the same day Brady announced his retirement (Feb. 1).
As for Payton, he’ll be joining Fox Sports for the 2022 season. Although he definitely won’t be coaching this year, it will be interesting to see what happens if he wants to get back into coaching in 2023. If he makes a decision to return, he’ll definitely be a hot commodity with multiple teams likely trying to hire him. Of course, any team that wants him will have to work something out with the Saints.