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Dolphins 2023-24 Drafts, Tampering, and NFL History

The Miami Dolphins will lose a first-round pick for tampering for the second time, though the first time produced Don Shula

The Miami Dolphins had positioned themselves perfectly for the 2023 NFL draft to either add to a young roster built around Tua Tagovailoa or to try to secure a franchise QB in the event they'd be looking to move on.

But that draft capital, not just next year but the following year as well, took a hit after the sanctions imposed by the NFL on Tuesday after the Dolphins were found guilty of tampering for improper communications with both legendary quarterback Tom Brady and now-retired Saints head coach Sean Payton.

The NFL stripped the Dolphins of their own first-round pick in 2023 along with their third-round pick in 2024.

Miami was scheduled to have two first-round picks in 2023 to go along with two third-round selections, but now will have only the first-round pick it obtained from the San Francisco 49ers in the 2021 trade for the third overall pick.

Overall, the Dolphins will be back to seven picks in 2023 — barring any more moves — with one in the first, one in the second, two in the third, and one in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

The extra third-round pick is from New England as part of the DeVante Parker trade and the Dolphins got a sixth-round pick from Chicago last October for wide receiver Jakeem Grant.

The Dolphins have fourth- and sixth-round selections going to Kansas City as part of the big Tyreek Hill from March.


This will be the second time the Dolphins have had to forfeit a first-round pick for tampering, though nobody associated with the franchise or its fans will have any regret about the first instance.

That's because it involved Don Shula.

When original owner Joe Robbie went looking for a second coach after George Wilson served for the first four years (1966-69), he hired Shula away from the Baltimore Colts after getting permission from Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom's son to interview Shula, according to "Still Perfect," a great book on the 1972 Dolphins by South Florida writer Dave Hyde.

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Carroll Rosenbloom complained to then-commissioner Pete Rozelle, who agreed that the actual owner was the one who needed to grant permission and awarded the Colts a first-round pick in 1971 as compensation.

As fate would have it, the Colts won the Super Bowl in their first year without Shula, while the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time with Shula in 1970 and made the Super Bowl the following three seasons, winning the Lombardi Trophy in the 1972 and 1973 seasons.


Teams having to forfeit draft picks is nothing new.

Just a few months ago, the New Orleans Saints had to forfeit a sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft for repeated violations of the league's COVID policy.

The New England Patriots had to forfeit a first-round pick twice in the past 15 years, first in 2008 after "Spygate" and again in 2016 after "Deflagate."

When it comes to NFL precedents for tampering, two examples stand out in the past 30 years.

The most recent came when the Kansas City Chiefs were docked a third-round pick in 2016 and a sixth-round pick in 2017 for tampering with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin during the 2015 free agency period.

And then there was the incident involving head coach Dom Capers when he was hired to be the Carolina Panthers' inaugural head coach in 1995.

The Panthers actually secured permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to interview their defensive coordinator, but league rules at the time forbade it even with permission until after the end of the season.

Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue docked the Panthers second- and sixth-round picks, though it should be noted that Carolina and Jacksonville were given two picks in each round of their first draft when they entered the NFL.