New England Patriots fans are officially angry.
The same can be said for the Patriots’ front office and ownership. Tom Brady’s four-game suspension from his alleged involvement with the deflation of footballs has been upheld, according to ESPN.
Just when everyone thought their worst NFL nightmare was over, the scandal dubbed as “Deflategate” returns with a vengeance.
The reinstatement of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension will most likely alter the Patriots’ draft plans a little bit. The New England Patriots may have to consider taking a quarterback in this week’s NFL Draft. The Patriots are already without a first-round draft pick, so they will be hard pressed to take one with one of the selections they do have.
If the Patriots do not address the quarterback position in the draft, they will have to add one free agency. There is also a trade or two that could be made. Regardless of what corresponding will be made, the New England Patriots are in a pickle thanks to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
“We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness.”
Most people who follow the New England Patriots would say that the ruling does not exhibit fundamental fairness. They would tell anyone who cares to listen that the Patriots were wronged.
“Our role is not to determine for ourselves whether Brady participated in a scheme to deflate footballs or whether the suspension imposed by the Commissioner should have been for three games or five games or none at all. Nor is it our role to second-guess the arbitrator’s procedural rulings. Our obligation is limited to determining whether the arbitration proceedings and award met the minimum legal standards established by the Labor Management Relations Act,” said Judge Barrington D. Parker regarding the majority decision.
Now that the Federal Appeals Court has spoken, the New England Patriots are forced to move forward. The first decision is finding who else will suit up at quarterback.
As it currently stands, Jimmy Garoppolo is the only quarterback on the roster. New England could not have seen the news of Tom Brady’s suspension coming or else they would have added a quarterback just for the sake of having another live body at the position. A minor move is probably expected now as a form of insurance. There is no one else in place if Garoppolo gets hurt in OTAs or one of the Patriots’ other offseason programs.
Despite Brady’s four-game ban, he will be able to practice with the team and participate in the preseason.
The easiest way to ease the loss of Tom Brady is for the New England Patriots to draft a quarterback in the middle rounds. A perfect scenario would be for former Michigan State Spartan QB Connor Cook to fall in the draft. If he were to fall to the backend of the second round where the Patriots could use one of their two picks, it would get interesting. For now, the Patriots are in a tough spot.
New England does not have a draft selection until the 60th and 61st picks overall. They have other needs to address, namely some offensive line depth. Is it inconceivable for them to draft a quarterback that high?
They also have two third-round choices, but the quarterback options become dicey after Connor Cook.
An additional problem is that after their two third-rounders, the Patriots do not have another pick until the sixth round.
Connor Cook will be gone if the Patriots wait, as well as a few of the other quarterbacks who are slated to go in the middle rounds.
There is a trade that could be made with the Cleveland Browns for Josh McCown. There is also the trade request made by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Sam Bradford, according to Pro Football Talk.
Adding Sam Bradford would cost the Patriots another needed asset. And regardless of how competitive New England has been over the past decade and a half, they must get younger. They must upgrade several positions in order to remain the perennial contender they have been under Tom Brady. The Patriots could ill-afford to have injuries or, in this case, the Tom Brady suspension alter their plans.
The New England Patriots will continue to fight for Tom Brady’s future availability, but they must make a corresponding move to offset the ban. A final resolution may not come for months unless Brady somehow accepts his four-game suspension. No one believes that will happen, which further complicates the New England Patriots’ offseason plans.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]