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Sunday NFL Thoughts: DeflateGate, NFL MVP, Wide Receivers

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1. The New York Times issued a blistering takedown over the NFL's handling of DeflateGate, calling the league's behavior the "true scandal."

There are no outlets that support the league's science, other than the entities they paid for. There are no outlets that believe the NFL handled the ordeal correctly. There will be no outlets that trust any further information released by the NFL because of how blatantly corrupt the league has processed information over the past year. There are no outlets that support Roger Goodell and the NFL's attempt to skewer a team that simply went back to work and are now one game away from returning to the Super Bowl.

The league is reactionary to public perception and Pro Football Talk claims (threats?) that a summary of PSI data could be released between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. No one will believe a word they say.

Instead of wondering whether or not the Patriots were giving opposing teams warm Gatorade, maybe some outlets could look into the NFL's work on DeflateGate.

2. It's fitting that the three candidates for MVP are still standing. Panthers' QB Cam Newton led Carolina over the Seahawks in resounding fashion, while it looks like the hand injury to Cardinals' QB Carson Palmer affected his play against the Packers.

Patriots QB Tom Brady looked pretty good against the Chiefs, even though there were some pretty bad throws and some lucky bounces. A bobble by wide receiver Julian Edelman (not Brady's fault) almost knocked the ball into the hands of Chiefs CB Sean Smith, and then Chiefs rookie CB Marcus Peters dropped an easy pick right into his chest. The game even ended on a ricochet that fortunately fell into the hands of Edelman.

It should be noted that the Chiefs had the second best defense in the league, per Football Outsiders' Weighted DVOA, so Brady's 28/42 (66.7%) for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions should be treated as a positive outcome. The only team with a better defense ?

The Denver Broncos, although the divide between the Broncos and Chiefs isn't as grand as some might want you to believe. The Broncos weighted DVOA was -22.1%, while the Chiefs were are -21.5%. The Seahawks posted a -21.0%, and a -19.8% last season. The Patriots passing offense should be fine.

3. A little argument for Tom Brady as MVP: count how many players on offense that suited up for 85% or more of the snaps (a little more than 13.5 games worth of snaps):

Carolina Panthers (6): OT Mike Remmers (100%), OT Michael Oher (98.4%), QB Cam Newton (97.7%), OG Trai Turner (97.5%), TE Greg Olsen (95.9%), OC Ryan Kalil (90.7%)

Arizona Cardinals (5): OT Jared Veldheer (96.9%), QB Carson Palmer (94.0%), OC Lyle Sendlein (90.0%), WR Larry Fitzgerald (89.0%), OT Bobby Massie (88.6%)

New England Patriots (1): QB Tom Brady (98.8%)

That's it. Brady is the only member of the Patriots to suit up for 85+% of the Patriots offensive snaps. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is next at 83.9%, and he's the only player above 80%. Guard Josh Kline (77.3%) is the only other above 75%, and tackle Sebastian Vollmer (73.0%) is the only other above 70%.

Consistency is extremely important and the Patriots did not have any in 2015. Just some food for the MVP debate.

4. Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is applying for reinstatement after he was suspended indefinitely for violating the third stage of the NFL's intervention program. Gordon is still just 24 years old and his 2013 season of 87 catches for 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns in 14 games is one of the most impressive in league history. Cleveland will have an interesting decision to make.

It's probably impossible for Cleveland to keep both Gordon and Johnny Manziel on the same team as Manziel has decision making and substance problems of his own. The 6'4, 220 lbs Gordon would be a huge addition, and risk, for any inquiring team.

On the other hand, Gordon could join tight end Gary Barnidge, and wide receivers Travis Benjamin, Brian Hartline, and Andrew Hawkins, to form a formidable receiving corps that could possibly entice a quarterback to the market.

5. As for the Patriots, they have to consider adding another wide receiver to the roster this offseason, whether via free agency or the draft.

Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman will be 30 years old next season, and Brandon LaFell will turn 30 in November. While Keshawn Martin is a nice addition (he'll be 26), it's clear that the Patriots need to groom another prospect as an outside receiver. The soon-to-be 25-year-old Aaron Dobson can't be counted on for next season's roster and the team will have to make a move to bolster the position.

Now I'm not advocating for acquiring Gordon, but if the team could add a receiver that stood over 6-feet tall that can play on the sidelines, then that'd be a great addition.

6. Some possible names that fit the bill:

Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd, 6'2, 200 lbs

Rutgers' Leonte Carroo, 6'0, 205 lbs

Colorado State's Rashard Higgins, 6'2, 190 lbs

Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge, 6'1, 215 lbs

Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson, 6'4, 215 lbs

Massachusett's Tajae Sharpe, 6'3, 200 lbs

All of these would be interesting additions to the Patriots offense.