The owner of the Miami Dolphins has the University of Michigan fight song as his ring tone.
Could his quarterback-starved team be angling for a certain former Wolverine, the biggest prize in NFL free agency?
Everyone is reading tea leaves about where Tom Brady might wind up, especially after the six-time Super Bowl winner announced Tuesday morning that he’s leaving New England.
The Dolphins, who last offseason looked to be tanking to build for the future, are not considered a front-runner by odds makers, who contend it’s more likely Brady will wind up in Tampa Bay or with the Chargers.
But the Dolphins do make sense on some level, and not just because they’re coached by Brian Flores, a longtime Patriots assistant coach, or that Miami seems like a good fit for Gisele Bundchen, Brady’s supermodel wife.
It comes down to this: What is most important to the 42-year-old Brady as his career winds down?
Is it all about winning? Then Miami probably isn’t the place. If Brady thought the cupboard was bare in New England last season, the Dolphins are more bereft of talent.
But they play in a division in which the sands are shifting. There’s no guarantee the Patriots with a new quarterback will be anything more than a shell of themselves. Buffalo is improved, but the New York Jets remain a perpetual work in progress. And the arrow is pointing up for the Dolphins, who made a series of splash agreements Monday — acquisitions that will come to fruition Wednesday when the new league year officially begins — beefing up their defense with cornerback Byron Jones, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah.
The Dolphins have draft picks and plenty of them — 14 selections in this draft, including three in the first round and two in the second.
They are going to use one of those first-rounders on a left tackle, and likely will both draft a running back and sign one in free agency. They need a center too. Their offensive line is pretty much a mess, with the only two nailed-down positions being right tackle and — after making a deal Monday with Ereck Flowers — left guard.
Miami’s receivers are below average. Devante Parker is coming off a solid season but was a disappointment the four years before that. Second-year Preston Williams showed some flashes as a rookie before he was injured. Tight end Mike Gesicki showed improvement in his second year, but he’s no Rob Gronkowski.
(Something else to ponder: Wherever Brady goes, might Gronk follow? What are the chances he does what Dallas tight end Jason Witten did and leave his TV gig to un-retire?)
Again, it gets back to, what’s most important to Brady?
Is it about the city? The division? The chance to play a depleted Patriots team twice a season? Or is he looking for a fresh start on the West Coast?
One thing is for sure: Miami’s Ross is certainly interested. He’s all about business. In fact, the Michigan business school is named after him. But that “Hail to the Victors” ring tone is about football.