Tom Brady met the media last year while at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

Tom Brady met the media this time last last year at his celebrity touch football game, which benefits Best Buddies and is part of a charitable weekend for the quarterback. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Best Buddies)

1. The sports media calendar starts to fill up again this week. First and foremost, there’s the potential to hear more from quarterback Tom Brady prior to his annual Best Buddies charity event, set for Friday and Saturday. In year’s past, Brady has made the rounds in a series of pre-promotional interviews in the days leading up to the event, and has spoken at halftime of his celebrity touch football game at Harvard on Friday night. In the wake of the news regarding his suspension, it’s not clear if he’ll address the Wells Report, but it should be an interesting few days for the quarterback. In addition, the Patriots are scheduled to make their rookies available to the media on Wednesday and Thursday. The introduction of the first-year players, which was delayed in the wake of the Deflategate news, will include first-round pick Malcom Brown on Wednesday, as well as other members of the rookie class on Thursday. In addition, there will be access to OTAs on Friday.

2. If Brady will be sidelined for a stretch in 2015, the natural question arises: Do the Patriots need to add a veteran signal-caller as a backup to (presumed) starter Jimmy Garoppolo? New England does have Garrett Gilbert (who ended the 2014 season on the practice squad) as the only other quarterback on the roster, but examining the list of available free agents (a group that includes Matt Flynn and Mike Vick), it doesn’t look like there are a lot of potential fits in Foxboro, even on a part-time basis. At the same time, there are financial ramifications to consider. While the move wouldn’t likely break the bank, signing a veteran as a backup for the start of the season would mean that the contract for the additional quarterback would be guaranteed. Considering that said backup would likely be jettisoned soon after Brady returns, it’s worth wondering if the Patriots would be inclined it spend that sort of money on someone who — in an ideal world — would be holding a clipboard for a few weeks. From this viewpoint, if a former Brady backup does become available between now and the start of the season (Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett come to mind), the Patriots could add them after Week One. That would give New England a relatively inexpensive insurance plan if something did happen to Garoppolo in the opener. Regardless, it’s another team-building question that needs to be taken into consideration as the team sits and waits for Brady’s appeal to take place.

3. Ever since rookie salaries became slotted, the race to get draft picks signed and into the system has lost some of its old drama. Currently, the Patriots have nine of their 11 draft picks signed, with only first-rounder Brown and fifth-rounder Joe Cardona yet to agree to contracts. Cardona (Navy) is the last fifth-round selection to sign, and given his background, it’s reasonable to speculate how much of that has to do with his uncertain future as it relates to a possible military commitment. As for Brown, he is one of 11 first-round picks who have yet to sign. Overall, as of Tuesday (according to our friend Brian McIntyre), over 80 percent of the 2015 class has signed/agreed to terms, including 91 percent of Day 3 picks.

4. The Dolphins are all in. If the free-agent addition of Ndamukong Suh wasn’t enough of a sign earlier this spring, that fact was hammered home this week when they went and gave a $96 million deal to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. (While guaranteed money is the bottom line and contracts can always be re-worked, it’s remarkable to think that the Dolphins narrowly avoided becoming the first team in NFL history to have two players with $100 million contracts in Suh and Tannehill.) In addition, Miami has spent heavily this offseason to retain veterans like Mike Pouncey, Cameron Wake and Branden Albert. Their spending is part of a “win now” attitude, according to owner Stephen Ross. However, it’s a huge gamble for the Dolphins, who could face their financial reckoning in 2016 unless several of their players volunteer to re-do their deals. Miami is already $17 million over the cap for next year, and the money it has committed to this season and beyond could hamstring their team-building process down the road. Ross should be applauded for ponying up the dough to try and build a winner, but that short-term financial thinking approach could spell disaster in the long term if the Dolphins can’t capitalize in 2015.

5. While NFL training camps are still a few months away, the Canadian Football League will kick off their preseason workouts this week north of the border. While the news that Michael Sam joined Montreal drew some attention, from our perspective, there are a few former Patriots worth keeping an eye on as the CFL season approaches: In Montreal, wide receiver Chad Johnson, who spent a forgettable 2011 season with the Patriots, as well as defensive end Aaron Lavarias, who was on and off the Patriots roster in 2011 and 2012, are both on the Montreal roster with Sam. Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood — most famous for being cut the night before Super Bowl XLVI — is a member of the Hamilton receiving corps, while wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, who had a cup of coffee with New England in the summer of 2013, is in camp with British Columbia. And veteran Austin Collie, who spent time with New England at the end of the 2013 season and distinguished himself as a receiver who developed a good chemistry in a very short time with Brady, is also on the roster with the BC Lions.

6. We highlighted some scouting departments changes a few weeks ago, and while there have been no seismic alterations in the New England front office this offseason, a good way to keep up with all the personnel moves in scouting departments across the NFL is Dan Hatman’s blog. We’ve relied on Dan’s analysis and football wisdom in the past, and he’s an excellent follow for insight into the world of NFL scouting. According to Hatman, the Patriots recently promoted Jonathan Howard to the role of Northeast Scout. Howard, who got his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his master’s in sports management from UMass, was hired as a scouting assistant in 2013.

7. There were all sorts of conflicting reports over the last week or so, but all indications seem to point to the fact that the Texans, Bills and Redskins (in that order) are the favorite to be featured on this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks.” John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report on the fact that Houston has the upper hand, and over the course of the last few days, Buffalo and Washington have all apparently dropped off. The Texans figure to be one of the more compelling teams in the league in 2015, with J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. It should be fun for New England fans to at least get a look behind closed doors at a team with a heavy Patriots influence that includes head coach Bill O’Brien, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, assistant coach Mike Vrabel and former players Vince Wilfork, Mallett and Hoyer.

8. We’ve always been fans of the work of Jimmy Kempski, who has put together some really interesting positional breakdowns by age across the NFL. This week, he took a look at the average age of the offensive starters for all 32 teams. At this time of year, it’s difficult to get a precise reading on just how old any team is because there will inevitably be plenty of roster shuffling between now and the start of the regular season. At the same time, with the draft and free agency pretty much completed, this study gives you a pretty good idea of where each team is in relation to the rest of the league. Kempski finds that the Patriots are expected to go into the 2015 season with the second-oldest set of offensive starters in the league. New England’s average age of 28.55 is second only to Denver’s 29. Cleveland (28.18), New Orleans (28) and Chicago (27.82) round out the Top 5. Check out Kempski’s complete breakdown here.

9. Looking around for research for another story, we stumbled on some stats of some of the best 38-year-old quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. (Don’t ask how.) With Brady set to turn 38 this August, we started wondering what might be a realistic level of expectation for the New England quarterback this season, at least from a statistical standpoint. Here are five notable signal-callers, and a look at what they did the year they turned 38:

a) Peyton Manning. The Broncos QB finished his 2014 season with a 66 percent completion rate, 4,727 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 picks for a team that lost in the division round of the playoffs to the Colts. All things being equal, it’s the best statistical season of any 38-year-old QB in the history of the game.

b) Brett Favre: The Packers quarterback bounced back from an awful stretch of seasons with an impressive 2007. That year, he got Green Bay to overtime of the NFC title game, and finished with a 67 percent completion rate, 4,155 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

c) Kurt Warner: Warner got the Cardinals to the Super Bowl as a 38-year-old, and ended the regular season with a 66 percent completion rate, 3,753 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 picks.

d) John Elway: As a 38-year-old in 1998, Elway didn’t put up the sort of numbers that Manning, Favre or Warner did, he still went out the way any quarterback wants to finish — in his final season, he completed 59 percent of his passes, finished with 2,806 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but was still the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

e) Joe Montana: Montana turned 38 in 1994 when he was with the Chiefs, and in his last year as a starting quarterback, he completed 61 percent of his passes, threw for 3,283 yards, and had 16 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. His team lost to Miami in the wild card round of the playoffs.

10. This has been out there for a few days now, but it was interesting to see this short workout video put together by Julian Edelman, who continues to be the franchise leader when it comes to establishing his marketing brand. (Check the JE11 logo that pops up at the end.) First of all, a handful of Patriots have worked out together on the West Coast the last few years. Whether it was making a pilgrimage to the House of Brady or simply some more informal work (those sessions were occasionally organized by former teammate Stevan Ridley), there have always been a few guys who have spent quality time in Southern California in the offseason, and it appears the Golden State native Edelman is doing the same. Second, for a guy who enjoyed being America’€™s guest for the first month or so after the Super Bowl, it certainly doesn’€™t appear that he’s spent a lot of time lounging around, getting fat and eating burgers. And third, the ever-so-brief appearance of Garoppolo got some people speculating that the two are working together in anticipation of Brady missing a few games to start the season. Regardless, it certainly appears that Edelman isn’t planning on resting on his 2014 achievements.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots fans will be taking time out of their Memorial Day weekend to show their support for their embattled superstar quarterback.

Tom Brady will be getting support from Patriots fans on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will be getting support from Patriots fans on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Patriots fans will be taking time out of their Memorial Day weekend to show their support for their embattled superstar quarterback.

According to a Facebook fan page, fans will be holding a rally in support of Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, according to a post on the page, describes the event as a “peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady.”

The rally takes place at Patriot Place Parking Lot 4, in the general area of the Patriots Pro Shop and Hall at Patriot Place, which houses the team’s hall of fame.

Brady has been suspended for the first four games of next season by the NFL for his role in Deflategate. Brady has appealed the suspension through the Players Association, which requested last week that league commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself from hearing the appeal. Goodell’s lawyers have suggested he deny the union’s request.

Patriots fans across New England and the country have rallied around Brady, whom they feel has been an unfair target of the probe by Ted Wells and the NFL to look into why footballs were under inflated in the first half of the AFC championship game against the Colts.

This week at Fenway Park, fans have broken out in spontaneous cheers of “Free Tom Brady,” including Friday night when the team was down 12-5 in the 8th inning of a loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

A "Free Tom Brady" rally has been organized for Sunday on Facebook. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

A “Free Tom Brady” rally has been organized for Sunday on Facebook. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

As of Saturday afternoon, nearly 250 people had confirmed via the Facebook page that they were planning to attend. Fans are also encouraged to wear Tom Brady jerseys.

One fan pledged her support before passing away. Patricia M. Shong, who died Monday at 72, told people she believed in Brady before passing away, a fact that was reflected in her obituary in the Auburn, Mass., Daily.

“Patricia was known for being an avid reader which all who knew her can attest to based on her mini home library. She especially loved spending time with her family. She would also like us to set the record straight for her: Brady is innocent!!”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL rejected the NFLPA motion that Roger Goodell recuse himself from Tom Brady‘s appeal.

This means Goodell will hear Brady’s appeal, which goes against what Brady and the NFLPA wanted. The date for the appeal reportedly hasn’t been set.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL rejected the NFLPA Motion that Roger Goodell recuse himself from Tom Brady‘s appeal.

This means Goodell will hear Brady’s appeal, which goes against what Brady and the NFLPA wanted. The date for the appeal reportedly hasn’t been set.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Those looking for a date for Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing will need to wait a little longer.

According to Pro Football Talk, the league office says no date has been set for the hearing. The NFLPA officially filed the appeal last Thursday, May 14.

Speaking for the first time since the release of the Wells Report and the subsequent punishments meted out to the Patriots, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith hammered back at the league Friday afternoon, questioning whether or not Ted Wells was truly autonomous in his work.

Those looking for a date for Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing will need to wait a little longer.

According to Pro Football Talk, the league office says no date has been set for the hearing. The NFLPA officially filed the appeal last Thursday, May 14.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Speaking for the first time since the release of the Wells Report and the subsequent punishments meted out to the Patriots, NFLPA Eexecutive Director De Maurice Smith hammered back at the league Friday afternoon, questioning whether or not Wells was truly autonomous in his work.

“You can’t really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper,” Smith told ESPN.

He added: “I think the Wells Report delivered exactly what the client wanted.”

Smith also noted some of the inconsistencies in the report, saying that one part of the document credits the memory of referee Walt Anderson, while another section questions his recollection. He also took issue with the way it was written.

“The first thing that jumps out at you about the report is how negotiated the language is,” he said.

Smith said he does not know if there is some sort of agreement in place between commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Bob Kraft that included Kraft dropping his fight against in the league in exchange for Goodell reducing or eliminating the suspension of Brady. While Brady’s appeal is pending, a report from Pro Football Talk on Friday indicated that no date had been set for that meeting.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian, a frequent critic of the Patriots, joined the Middays with MFB crew on Friday to discuss Deflategate and how the Patriots are perceived around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.