The Miami Dolphins are reeling this week after an NFL investigation revealed that the franchise had impermissible contact with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. The Dolphins are being docked a first-round selection in 2023 and a third-round selection in 2024. Owner Stephen Ross has also been suspended through October 17 and fined $1.5 million.
The man who Brady would've replaced this past offseason isn't sweating what he can't control. While speaking to the media following Miami's practice on Wednesday, starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa believes that the team is firmly behind him.
"I came in 2020. So, whatever happened in 2019, I can’t even speak on that," Tagovailoa said to reporters on Wednesay. "I was here in 2020, and I’m still here. And I’m blessed to be here. If it has to do with support from the team, I think the team is all in with me and all of the guys that we have now."
The NFL released its findings on Tuesday. Former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White found that the Dolphins had "impermissible communications with Brady and Payton between August 2019 and January 2022. The misstep violated the league's anti-tampering policy and the integrity of the game.
While Ross wasn't the executive within Miami's organization to have conversations with Brady, he was kept privy to the details. Dolphins Vice Chairman and limited partner Bruce Beal had discussions with Brady while he was under contract with the New England Patriots as early as August 2019. Talks resumed in 2021 when Brady was still under contract with the Buccaneers.
Brady and Payton were cleared of any wrongdoing during the investigation.
Tampa Bay and its 45-year-old quarterback will be looking to officially put this drama behind them ahead of the 2022 season. The Buccaneers are entering a crucial period of training camp as they try to find a capable replacement for starting center Ryan Jensen.
Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.