Maybe there’s a reason why a ruling on Tom Brady‘s suspension appeal has taken so long.

Maybe there’s a reason why a ruling on Tom Brady‘s suspension appeal has taken so long.

According to Pro Football Talk, Brady’s legal team and the NFL have had settlement talks, but as of now no progress has been made. The report states, while it remains possible something could be worked out, it would be unexpected.

The report also says several NFL owners are pressuring commissioner Roger Goodell to keep the suspension at four games. With that being said, there is a fear that if the suspension stays at four games, it could be completely wiped out by a federal court.

Brady appealed his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate back on June 23, exactly a month from Thursday.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Jamie Collins has his roster spot assured, but what will the rest of the Patriots' 53-man roster look like?</p>
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It sounds like the National Football League Players’ Association is ready to fight on behalf of Tom Brady.

It sounds like the National Football League Players’ Association is ready to fight on behalf of Tom Brady.

NFLPA president Eric Winston told PFT Live Wednesday that he and the union are “prepared to take the next step” on behalf of Brady if the Patriots’ quarterback isn’t exonerated.

“€œIt’€™s not even worth trying to guess what’€™s going on because it doesn’€™t seem like all the time that they know what’€™s going on,”€ Winston said. “I hope they do the right thing, I hope they exonerate Tom and overturn his suspension. But if they don’€™t we’€™re prepared to take the next step, whatever that next step might be.”

At the same time, Winston remains befuddled as to why the appeals process has taken so long. Thursday will mark the one-month anniversary of Brady’s meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell in New York.

“We can’€™t take that next step and we can’€™t go forward until a decision is made,” Winston said. “Why it takes over a month, and why it took six months to get to that point before that, and the constant feet-dragging on not just Tom’€™s issue but all the issues is, to me, just seems a bit ridiculous and doesn’€™t serve the players very well. But that’€™s where we’€™re at now and we’€™re just going to have to continue to keep advocating for our players.”

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Ndamukong Suh is now a big part of the Miami defense. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Ndamukong Suh is now a big part of the Miami defense. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With Patriots camp opening up on July 30 at Gillette Stadium, takes a quick look at each of the Patriots’ rivals in the AFC East, their additions, losses and what each team needs to accomplish in camp.

Miami Dolphins

2014 finish: 8-8, 3rd in AFC East

Key additions: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Kenny Stills, WR DeVante Parker (R), TE Jordan Cameron, DT CJ Mosley

Key losses: DL Jared Odrick, LB Dannell Ellberbe, LB Jonathan Freeny, S Jimmy Wilson, TE Charles Clay, RB Daniel Thomas

Camp goals: Keep Suh fresh, healthy and happy, find reps for new wide receivers who will have to find rhythm with franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill, develop some type of killer instinct and focus to close out games.

What to make of the Dolphins: While the Dolphins made a huge splash in the offseason by signing the biggest name defensive tackle on the market, it will be fascinating to see if the sum of the parts equals the whole when it comes to pad-crunching time.

There’s no doubt the Dolphins are getting one of the best in the game in Ndamukong Suh along the defensive line. He became the highest paid defensive player in NFL history, when Miami signed him to a six-year deal worth roughly $114 million, with nearly $60 million fully guaranteed.

Like the Bills and Jets, the Dolphins have stacked up on defensive linemen and edge rushers, with the hope of getting to Tom Brady atop the division. Suh joins a crew that already includes C.J. Mosley, rookie Jordan Phillips, Derrick Shelby, Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake.

But they lost defensive lineman Jared Odrick (Jaguars), linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (Saints) and Jonathan Freeny (Patriots) and safety Jimmy Wilson (Chargers). To shore up their receiving corps, the Dolphins traded their third-round selection (No. 78 overall) and Ellerbe to the Saints in exchange for wide receiver Kenny Stills.

The other huge financial commitment the Dolphins made this offseason was to their quarterback. On May 18, 2015, Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year contract extension with the Dolphins through the 2020 season worth $77 million. It includes a $11.5 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of just over $19 million.

They also brought back veteran backup Matt Moore behind Tannehill, so the Dolphins have that going for them.

This figures to be the last shot for head coach Joe Philbin, who has recorded a 23-25 record in three previous non-playoff seasons. Each of the last two seasons has ended in 8-8 records but with bitter disappointment. In 2013, the Dolphins were 8-6 and on the verge of the playoffs after upsetting the Patriots, 24-20, at home. They were blown out in a shutout loss in Buffalo, 19-0, and fell at home to the Jets in the season’s final game. Last year, they were 7-5 and in similar position to finish strong. But they choked down the stretch again, losing three of four to finish 8-8.

Tannehill and Philbin came on the scene together in South Florida in 2012. Tannehill has started every game of the Philbin era, throwing 63 touchdowns and 42 interceptions while compiling a quarterback rating of 84.0. Tannehill will obviously be around after this season. But will Philbin?

This is a team with interesting pieces. Training camp is the time when contending teams like the Patriots start an intense competition for jobs, even though most veterans know they already have a place. But that’s the key. The veterans in New England take nothing for granted and fight like it through the whole season. The Dolphins have shown over the last two seasons a keen inability to close out games and the season strong.

If that’s going to change, it has to start with the right mentality in camp.

Same quarterbacks, same coaching staff. Now, the Dolphins need to get to work on finding a winning identity and that starts with a focused training camp. Can Philbin produce such an animal? We’ll find out soon enough.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Darrelle Revis still has a bone to pick with the Patriots regarding the ring ceremony that was held last month at the home of owner Robert Kraft.

Despite the fact that he won a Super Bowl with the Patriots, Darrelle Revis left no doubt as to where his allegiance lies these days. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

After a year with the Patriots, Darrelle Revis sounds happy to be “home.” (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis still has a bone to pick with the Patriots regarding the ring ceremony that was held last month at the home of owner Robert Kraft.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the former New England cornerback said his mother flew to Boston to pick up his ring at the celebration, held at Kraft’s home in Brookline — he said he had planned a trip to Disney with his children. But Revis maintains that she was not allowed to attend the ceremony.

“If that’€™s how they want to do things, that’€™s fine,” Revis says. “I’€™m not going to waste my time on it.”

Revis addresses several other things in the story, including the fact that he initially thought about retirement following a torn ACL at the start of the 2012 season.

“I did think about retiring,” Revis said. “I had never been seriously injured before, and I didn’€™t know how to handle it.”

He also shared some of his feelings about his return to New York.

‘€œI feel like I’€™ve been on the road the last two years,” he said. “I never wanted to leave. I’€™m coming home.’€

The story is set to be released Wednesday.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Darrelle Revis left the Patriots for the Jets. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis left the Patriots for the Jets. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The offseason is rarely quiet for Super Bowl champions. Such would have been the case for the Patriots regardless of Deflategate, but the circus that’€™s accompanied the NFL’€™s handling has overshadowed what would have been an eventful offseason anyway.

Here’€™s a timeline of every major (non-Deflategate) event regarding the Patriots this offseason:

Feb 2: Rob Gronkowski begins another summer of Gronk with Jimmy Kimmel appearance

The veteran tight end has made the rounds this offseason, also appearing on Kelly & Michael and Celebrity Family Feud.

March 5: Vince Wilfork announces he won’€™t return

The 2004 first-round pick announced in a tweet that the team had declined his option, making him a free agent the next week. He ended up taking a two-year deal with the Texans on Marc 16.

March 9: Re-signed Devin McCourty

The 2010 first-round pick got a five-year, $47.5 million contract.

March 10: Lost Darrelle Revis, declined option on Brandon Browner

The Pats let Revis get to free agency by declining his $20 million option for next season. That led to the former Jet returning to his first employer on a five-year, $70 million deal with $39 million guaranteed.

Without Revis, the Pats opted to move away from playing press coverage, so they declined Browner’€™s option and let him sign with the Saints.

March 11: Released Kyle Arrington, signed Brandon Gibson

Arrington was a solid slot corner for the Pats over the years, but the 29-year-old struggled in the Super Bowl before being replaced by Malcolm Butler. He signed on with the Ravens.

Gibson joins Danny Amendola as former Rams receivers who eventually followed Josh McDaniels to New England. The Pats also signed fellow receiver Kevin Dorsey that day, but released him in May.

March 12: Signed (and later released) Chimdi Chekwa

Not the only free agent signing who didn’€™t make it through the offseason. Among others, former Redskins tight end Fred Davis experienced a similar fate.

March 16: Signed Scott Chandler

The former Bill figures to give the Patriots the best 1-2 punch they’€™ve had at tight end since Aaron Hernandez was released.

March 18: Signed Brandon Spikes for a very short time

Spikes’€™ Patriots reunion lasted less than a month before a motor vehicle incident involving Spikes’€™ car resulted in the Pats to cut bait. He was eventually charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury crash, operating a motor vehicle negligently to endanger, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes.

March 18: Signed Bradley Fletcher

The former Eagle figures to compete for a starting job on a New England team that’€™s thin and young at cornerback. 

April 30: Drafted Malcom Brown in first round

The Texas defensive tackle was the biggest addition on a defensive line that lost a key player in Wilfork.

May 5: Released Alfonzo Dennard

The Cardinals claimed the former seventh-round pick on waivers.

May 27: Beginning of OTAs

June 11: Released Tim Wright

The only player received in the Logan Mankins trade spent just one season with the Pats.

June 12: Signed Matt Flynn

So this one actually is Deflategate-related in that he provides competition for Jimmy Garoppolo in the event that Tom Brady does indeed miss games. Flynn has been so much money to not be a starting quarterback in his career.

June 17-19: Mini-camp

July 15: Avoided franchise tag with Stephen Gostkowski

The Pats gave Gostkowski a four-year deal worth $17.2 million, making him the highest-paid kicker in the league based on average annual value.

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Rob Gronkowski hasn't had to worry about rehabbing this offseason. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski hasn’t had to worry about rehabbing this offseason. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, we’ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We started with the wide receivers. Now, it’s the tight ends.

Depth chart (2014 regular-season stats via Pro Football Reference): Rob Gronkowski (82 catches, 131 targets, 1,124 yards, 12 TDs), Tim Wright (26 catches, 33 targets, 259 yards, 6 TDs), Michael Hoomananwanui (3 catches, 6 targets, 44 yards), Scott Chandler (47 catches, 70 targets, 497 yards, 3 TDs with Buffalo), A.J. Derby (rookie), Jimmay Mundine (rookie).


1. Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the game. There may be better pure blockers, and there might be guys who are better at only catching passes. But there’s no one right now at the tight end position who offers a better combo package — to go along with the overpowering physical skills — than Gronkowski. Simply put, he’s an elite skill position player, the sort of difference maker who can help elevate the New England offense. After injuries brought his 2012 and 2013 seasons to a premature end, he reclaimed his throne in 2014: Including the playoffs, he topped 90 receiving yards in seven games last year, and had six or more catches in nine games while becoming a genuine MVP candidate. We’ve used this analogy before, but when the production has dipped for Gronkowski, it’s faintly reminiscent of the old quote that said the only person who could hold Michael Jordan to single digits in scoring was Dean Smith. When teams went full-tilt after Gronkowski, that opened things up for other targets in the passing game, namely Julian Edelman or Brandon LaFell.

2. Few targets have managed to develop an extraordinary level of cohesiveness with quarterback Tom Brady in a relatively short time better than Gronkowski. Gronkowski has 307 catches in 65 career regular-season games with quarterback Tom Brady. Among quarterback/pass catcher combinations in New England since 2001, only Wes Welker (who had 563 catches in 78 regular-season games with Brady over the course of his career in New England) reached 300 receptions from Brady in quicker fashion. For what it’s worth, the big tight end is currently fifth on the all-time list of most regular-season receptions via Brady (307), and could move into second overall behind Welker by the end of the 2015 season. (For a deeper dive into those numbers, click here.)

3. Disparage Michael Hoomananwanui all you want. Just know that you need players like that to be successful. To be sure, Hoomananwanui is never going to be confused with an All-Pro. But in his three seasons with the Patriots, he’s demonstrated himself to be someone who has a good positional versatility (he’s played both tight end and fullback), and is an adequate blocker. In addition, in his career in New England, he’s caught 20 of the 31 passes thrown in his direction for a perfectly respectable catch rate of 65 percent, and has been durable enough to play in 43 of a possible 48 regular-season games. He’s cost-effective, has three years in the system, and is a good locker room guy who doesn’t labor under any delusions that he’s competing with Gronkowski for opportunities in the passing game. In short, he’s a classic role player who has managed to find a nice niche in New England.


1. Who will take Tim Wright’s snaps? After what appeared to be a relatively strong middle of the season — as well as a knack for dependability, particularly in the red zone — Wright fell off the radar at the end of the season with just 10 snaps in three playoff games. Whether it was game plan or personnel, Wright fell out of favor as the Patriots shifted gears. (On the surface, it may have been a decision to ride the hot hand of someone like wide receiver Danny Amendola, but truthfully, that’s just an educated guess.) Regardless, his offseason release will certainly open the door for another tight end, and while he doesn’t do many of the same things — Wright was more of a glorified receiver — it’ll likely be Chandler who will see most of the snaps when New England goes to a two-tight end set in 2015.

2. Can Gronkowski stay healthy? The narrative around Gronkowski and his health has changed dramatically since he first arrived in 2010. Following a college career sidetracked by injuries, he entered the league with a rep as someone who might have trouble staying on the field. (Truthfully, that was one of the reasons he lasted until the second round of the 2010 draft.) But he quickly established himself as a player who was able to answer the bell as needed, playing in 46 straight games from 2010 through 2012 to open his professional career. But arm and knee issues robbed him of a sizable portion of the 2012 and 2013 seasons — from the midway point of the ’12 campaign to the end of the ’13 slate he played in only nine of a possible 26 contests. However, since the start of the 2014 season, he’s been able to flip the storyline again. He played in 15 consecutive games to open last season (he logged a DNP-CD in the regular-season finale), marking the longest consecutive games played stretch since the beginning of his professional career. (That doesn’t even account him going wire-to-wire in all three playoff games.) The health of Gronk will remain paramount going into 2015; Brandon LaFell wasn’t just blowing smoke when he said last October, “With a healthy Gronk, we’re a whole different team.”

3. Should the Patriots expect anything out of the two rookie tight ends, Derby and Mundine? Derby has a fascinating backstory, and while it would be a bit much to expect him to beat out Chandler or Hoomananwanui for backup tight end duties in 2015, he’s certainly an intriguing prospect who could end up on the practice squad for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that his positional versatility (he played some quarterback as a collegian) could make him valuable in the long term. As for Mundine, he could be a bit of a wild card — the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder is a highly athletic undrafted free agent out of Kansas who could also ultimately land on the practice squad if everything falls into place. (Mundine has the most touchdowns by a tight end in Kansas history with 11, and last season, he set a single season record for a tight end in school history with 584 receiving yards.)

By the numbers: 79 — In his first season with the Patriots, Wright managed to set a new mark for dependability in the passing game with his 79 percent catch rate, a high for any offensive skill position player who was targeted at least 20 times in a single season. The tight end broke the previous mark of 77 percent, set by five different pass catchers, most recently Danny Woodhead (who caught 34 of 44 passes in 2010). Of course, that sure-handed skill is nothing new for Wright, who now has a two-year total as a pro (with the Bucs and Patriots) of 73 percent, a remarkable total for any receiver.

Key new player: Chandler. There were several notable things about what happened over the course of spring workouts, but the sight of Chandler and Gronkowski working together in two-tight end sets in the red zone was perhaps the most intriguing. That’s a lot of size close to the goal line. Provided bit cab stay healthy, a Gronkowski-Chandler duo will certainly give defensive coordinators ice cream headaches over the course of the 2015 season, particularly in the red zone.

The skinny: While Chandler, Hoomanawanui and the rookies will certainly be part of the tight end conversation, it begins and ends with Gronkowski. If he’s able to stay healthy, he makes the New England offense one of the best in the league. The scary thing? For the first offseason since the one immediately following his rookie year of 2010, Gronkowski has not had to worry about spending an offseason working through some sort of rehab. (“I just come out here and do what I have to do — try and get better every single day,” he said this past spring after a workout. “It’s an honor, after the whole offseason, to come out practice every single day and work on what I have to work on instead of trying to rehab something.”) As a result, he could very well be poised for his best season yet.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price