Past interest in Brady, Payton no Dolphins slight on Tua, McDaniel | Schad

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post

If you're Mike McDaniel and you're the new Dolphins coach, you should in no way be bothered by the idea that the club was interested in Sean Payton.

Payton is a proven winner. A proven Super Bowl champion. And he would have been a home run hire by owner Stephen Ross and club executives and officials.

If you're Tua Tagovailoa and you're the Dolphins quarterback, you should in no way be bothered by the idea that the club was interested in Tom Brady.

Brady is a proven winner. A proven Super Bowl(s) champion. And he would have been a home run hire as either a minority owner, club executive and/or quarterback.

Yes, the Dolphins would have had to trade with the Saints for the rights to Payton. Yes, the Dolphins would have had to trade with the Bucs for the player rights to Brady.

And no, adding a 44-year-old quarterback was not necessarily a part of the tank-for-championships plan. But plans must become fluid when legends are involved.

And nobody could have or would have been upset about adding Brady. Not even those Dolphins fans who may or may not have burned a Brady jersey or two along the way.

There have been persistent offseason reports from outlets like Pro Football Talk, first on the story, and The Boston Globe, connecting both Payton and Brady to the Dolphins.

We can say with certainty that the Dolphins were, at various points, interested in exploring the additions of proven commodities Payton and Brady.

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Those would have been home runs, but in all likelihood, short-term gratifications. After all, Brady already has 22 years of NFL action (and briefly retired recently) and Payton has 15 seasons of NFL coaching (and recently retired).

If you saw video clips of McDaniel and his quarterback at Tua's Luau for charity the other night, you see two guys who don't seem all that worried about it. And they shouldn't be.

In hiring McDaniel, the Dolphins took another sort of home run swing, but one that, if it turns out right, would pay much longer-term dividends.

How long was Payton, who not long ago proclaimed his heart was no longer in coaching, going to last in Miami?

In an ideal world, Tua, who like McDaniel, is as unproven as Brady and Payton are proven, will show that he is capable of fulfilling pre-draft projections.

And if he can't, well, the Dolphins will add another quarterback for 2023 and it can't possibly be a 45-year-old Brady could it? Rumors and speculation will persist, but it doesn't figure to bother Miami's current head coach and quarterback much.

Tua is a laid-back as they get for an NFL quarterback.

And McDaniel? Well, he's laid-back, too.

Perhaps this will be an ideal meshing of talent, scheme and personality.

Perhaps McDaniel and Tua will have the type of connection Miami surely believed veterans Payton and Brady would have had, too.

Some will suggest that Ross' desire to pursue veteran Payton and veteran Brady was a bit desperate. Say whatever you want and think whatever you want about Ross, but there is little doubt he desperately wants to win.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton second from right, talks with pro golfer Bubba Watson, right, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12), New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown, left, after a joint practice between the Patriots and New Orleans Saints at the Saint's NFL football training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

And there is little doubt that the Dolphins would have been an AFC favorite if they had added not only the likes of Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead, but also Payton and Brady.

The plan, for sure, seemed a bit complex and convoluted. Perhaps the timing of Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit against the league and member clubs really did blow up any notion that it could come to fruition.

It's impossible to know if McDaniel will grow into the type of offensive play-caller and head coach that Payton is.

It's hard to envision that Tua will reach the heights of quarterback play that Brady has, but that does not mean he can not leap forward to become a quite good player.

A skeptic of Tua may suggest that the Dolphins looking into replacing him with both Deshaun Watson and Brady means they've already drawn their conclusion.

Any person with logic would suggest that those are two of the best quarterbacks in the world and to not explore those options would be irresponsible.

As for McDaniel, it doesn't matter if he was the first, second or third choice as Dolphins head coach. All that matters is that he proves he was the right choice.

The best way to prove that is to help Tua substantially elevate his play. And to lead Miami to the playoffs this season.

If those things happen, nobody will spend much time worrying about what may have been with Sean Payton and Tom Brady in aqua and orange.