The NFL on Monday notified Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt that commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the existing suspensions levied for their role in a bounty system ran by the team over a three-year period.

Payton will miss the entire 2012 season and will begin serving his suspension on April 16. Vitt's suspension (six games) will begin at the start of the 2012 regular season, as will the suspension for Loomis (eight games).

In no particular order, here are 10 things we learned this week about the Patriots and the NFL:



The Patriots announced Thursday they have signed free agent linebacker Bobby Carpenter. The 28-year-old is a veteran of six NFL seasons, having spent time with Dallas (2006-09), Miami (2010) and Detroit (2010-11). The 6-foot-2, 249-pounder was originally drafted in the first round (18th overall) of the 2006 NFL draft by Dallas out of Ohio State. He has played in 89 NFL games with 10 starts and has accumulated 165 total tackles, one interception that he returned for a touchdown, 3.5 sacks, five passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

The Patriots announced their 2012 preseason schedule on Wednesday. The Patriots will have home games the first two weeks, hosting the Saints Week 1 and the Eagles Week 2. The Eagles game will be played on Aug. 20 at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots travel to Florida for Week 3 to take on the Buccaneers and the final preseason game in Week 4 is a Super Bowl rematch with the Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It is the eighth straight season the Patriots and Giants will play each other in the preseason finale.

In New York to model the Patriots' new Nike uniforms on Tuesday, Wes Welker spoke to ESPN about his contract situation. The wideout was franchise tagged by the Patriots on March 5 and will be paid $9.5 million in 2012 if he signs the tender. Welker was asked if was comfortable with the franchise tag.

According to The Tennessean, free agent center Dan Koppen is scheduled to visit with the Titans as early as Wednesday.

Koppen, who was drafted by the Patriots out of Boston College in 2003, spent most of last year on injured reserve after suffering a broken ankle in the season opener. 

On the same day a U.S. District Court judge ruled the town of Foxboro must allow representatives of the Kraft Group to speak at a selectman's meeting, town officials on Tuesday withdrew a Town Meeting measure that would have taken land on Route 1 to acquire a pair of billboards owned by the Kraft Group.

Selectmen voted unanimously to withdraw the article, shortly after Kraft Group director of project development Ted Fire spoke at Tuesday night's meeting and criticized Town Manager Kevin Paicos for previously refusing company officials to speak.

Continuing a dispute over two billboards on land owned by Robert Kraft near Gillette Stadium, The Kraft Group filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the town of Foxboro on Monday, according to a Boston Globe report.

The Patriots announced Monday they have released fullback Lousaka Polite. Polite, 30, joined the Patriots on Dec. 27, 2011 and played in the season-finale vs. Buffalo (1/1) as well as all three postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVI. Overall, he has played in 76 NFL games with 27 starts and has 95 rushing attempts for 296 yards with one touchdown and 41 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

According to a report from footballscoop.com, the Patriots have hired Chris Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms. His position with the Patriots is unclear at this time, according to the report.

A third-round pick of the Buccaneers in 2003, Simms played parts of seven seasons in NFL, with stops in Tampa Bay, Denver and Tennessee. Phil Simms was quarterback for the Giants from 1979-93, and Bill Belichick coached in the same organization from 1979-90.