A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game Deflategate suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the NFL Players Association.
"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," the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a 2-1 decision in New York.
The NFLPA and Brady can petition for a re-hearing in front of the same panel then the entire 2nd Circuit Court or take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They would have to request a stay of Brady's suspension during the appeal.
The NFL has the option to implement the full suspension or attempt to reach a settlement and avoid further appeals.
The Angry Tom Strategy lives! Barring a successful appeal (unlikely), Brady will have to serve the four-game suspension in 2016. His ADP is currently in the 8th round, but is likely to take a hit as early drafters learn the news. Savvy owners can scoop up Brady in the 10th or 11th round, draft a backup in the later rounds (Tyrod Taylor?) and then enjoy Brady's production from Week 5 on.
Related players: Dion Lewis
Blount will probably be the "2" in a 1-2 punch with Dion Lewis. In the six games in which they both played, Lewis averaged 11.0 touches (5.3 rec) for 84 yards and 0.66 TD, which extrapolates to high-end RB1 numbers both PPR and standard formats. Meanwhile, Blount averaged 16.3 touches for 80 yards and 1.0 TD in the six games that Lewis also played. Blount slipped down the stretch, averaging 13.4 carries for 51 yards and 0.20 TD in his final five games with Lewis sidelined. James White, Donald Brown and Brandon Bolden figure to compete, but this is shaping up to be a Lewis/Blount backfield.
Monday, April 4, 2016, 9:13pm
Hankerson originally joined the Bills on December 26, 2015 and played in the team’s final game against the New York Jets. He did not record a reception in the game. The 6-2, 211-pound Miami (Fl.) product entered the NFL in 2011 as a third round pick (79th overall) with the Washington Redskins. Hankerson has played in 40 career games, starting 14, catching 107 passes for 1,408 yards and nine touchdowns.
Prior to joining the Bills, Hankerson played for the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins. His most productive season came in 2012 when he had 38 catches for 543 yards and three touchdowns for Washington.
Sunday, April 3, 2016, 12:57pm
Bob Quinn worked for the Patriots before being hired in Detroit, so he was on hand when the Patriots used relatively early picks on Kevin O’Connell, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo to back up Tom Brady. He was also hired in 2000, which was the same year that the Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round and a year before Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in a franchise-shifting move.
Quinn suggested the same might be in store for the Lions in this year’s draft.
“I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year,” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There’s such a value in the position and nowadays in college football there’s a lot of spread offenses, which means it’s a lot different than pro football. So it takes these young quarterbacks time to develop. So if you can add a young quarterback every year or every other year to your roster, it’s good football business in my mind. So you have time to develop them, either on the practice squad or as a backup, before eventually them having to play in a game.”
The story mentioned the Lions would look in the mid-to-late rounds for a possible QB selection.
Chandler was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He spent 2007 and 2008 with San Diego (though he was on IR for the '08 season) before landing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2009, spending two seasons bouncing back and forth between the practice squads and active rosters of the Cowboys and Giants before ultimately landing with the Buffalo Bills late in the 2010 season.
He wound up spending four more years with the Bills, ultimately catching 181 passes for 2,112 yards and 17 touchdowns during that stint. He then landed with the New England Patriots for the 2015 season, playing No. 2 to Rob Gronkowski for most of the year and filling in for Gronk as the No. 1 tight end when he missed time. He caught 23 passes for 259 yards and four scores.
Chandler wound up needing knee surgery at the end of the season, though, and according to this Twitter post from his wife, Alissa, that surgery may end his career.
“New York, I hate that I couldn’t do more for you this past year, but the opportunity ya’ll gave me after my injury to do what I love the most … I can never put a price on,” the free-agent running back posted on social media Friday.
A former third-round pick of the Patriots in 2011, Ridley’s promising career in New England was derailed by ball security issues and a torn ACL he suffered during the 2014 season.
In two seasons with the Patriots, LaFell caught 111 passes and scored seven touchdowns. However, his role diminished greatly in 2015 and he was released March 2.
LaFell had a career year with the Patriots in 2014, his first season with the club, totaling 74 receptions for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He started 13 of 16 games during the regular season and then all three playoff contests, adding 13 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs.
An injury to his left foot, however, affected his offseason, and he opened 2015 on the physically unable to perform list. LaFell never seemed to find his groove upon his return, finishing this past season with 37 catches for 515 yards and no touchdowns.
Last season, LaFell was never able to recapture the magic from the year before, when he finished as the #22 fantasy receiver in standard formats. The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason, so LaFell will have the opportunity to start if the team doesn't use an early draft pick on a receiver.
The teams are finalizing a deal, but the Patriots will also receive a sixth-round draft choice in exchange for Bennett, according to sources.
The Patriots have traditionally preferred to run a multiple tight-end offense, which hit its peak in 2011 with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. In 2015, the club thought it had a strong 1-2 punch with Gronkowski and Scott Chandler, who was signed as a free agent, but Chandler didn't pan out after inking a two-year contract worth a maximum value of $5.3 million.
The Bears found a taker in the Patriots, who have been searching for an athletic tight end to fill the Aaron Hernandez role in the offense. Bennett will play second fiddle to Rob Gronkowski, and will likely trail Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis in targets. Bennett's departure opens the door for starter's snaps for Zachary Miller in Chicago. Miller could post TE1 numbers after coming on strong down the stretch last season.
Brown is a versatile back who finished 28th in PPR formats back in 2013 when he took over for Trent Richardson in Indianapolis. Since then, he has averaged 3.14 YPC over two seasons for the Chargers. The San Diego running game was a dumpster fire last year, and the Patriots obviously believe that Brown still has gas left in the tank. He could conceivably form a one-two punch with Dion Lewis.
Tom Brady’s new contract would save him a lot of money — almost $2 million — if he ends up being suspended for Deflategate.
A three-judge panel is currently weighing whether to overturn a judge’s decision last August that reversed the NFL’s decision to suspend the Patriots quarterback for four games. If they agree with the NFL, which appealed Judge Richard M. Berman’s ruling, Brady would face being sidelined for the first four games of the 2016 season.
Honestly, we thought Deflategate was behind us, but it's like a bad penny that continues to turn up. It sounds as if there's a real possibility that the three-judge panel will overturn the judge's decision, which would mean that Brady would have to serve his original four-game ban. If that's the case, his draft stock will take a hit, and there's an opportunity to use the Angry Tom strategy again in 2016.
With the new league year starting next week, teams are getting their houses in order by dispatching players who are under contract and out of their plans for monetary or performance reasons.
After a #22 finish in 2014, LaFell struggled to make an impact in 2015, averaging just 4.8 fantasy points (standard) in 11 games. The Patriots will likely look to improve the receiving corps this offseason.
Patriots running back Dion Lewis’ recovery from a torn right ACL on Nov. 8 has been encouraging to Dr. James Andrews, who performed surgery on Lewis Nov. 18. When Lewis visited Andrews in January for a routine check-in, the feeling was that things were exactly where they should be, if not better. The Patriots still figure to take it slowly with Lewis this offseason and perhaps even into training camp, but at this point, there’s no reason to think Lewis won’t be available for when the games count.
Lewis was New England’s best fantasy back through the first eight weeks of the season before tearing his ACL in Week 9. In six healthy games in that span, Lewis averaged 12.8 touches for 95 yards and 0.67 TD. On a per game basis, he was #10 in standard and #5 in PPR at the time of his injury. According to ESPN Boston, Lewis’s recovery is ahead of schedule and “there’s no reason to think Lewis won’t be available for when the games count.” If he’s good to go for Week 1, we believe he’ll be the team’s RB1 heading to the season, barring the addition of a good free agent back like Matt Forte or Lamar Miller.
The team announced the tight end inked a five-year contract extension on Monday, keeping him in Philadelphia through 2021.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the extension is worth $42.5 million, with $20 million in guarantees, which makes Ertz the fourth-highest paid tight end in average and guaranteed money, per a source. Jimmy Graham ($10 million), Julius Thomas ($9.2 million) and Rob Gronkowski ($9 million) are the top three in average per year.
Ertz finished as the #10 TE in standard scoring, but was #6 after his Week 8 bye, averaging 6.4 catches for 73 yards and 0.25 TD (on 8.8 targets per game) in his final eight games. On the season, he racked up 75 catches for 853 yards and two scores. Given his size and relative catch radius, his touchdown rate should increase eventually. Playing time was the issue in his first two NFL seasons, but he played 72% of the snaps in 2015 and 79% in his last five games.
G Tre Jackson
OL LaAdrian Waddle
DL Ishmaa’ily Kitchen
DB Tavon Wilson
LB Jon Bostic
DB Tavon Wilson
WR Chris Harper
DL Geneo Grissom
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