1. The New England Patriots have thrown down another gauntlet with regards to DeflateGate with a massive overhaul of the WellsReportContext.com website that owner Robert Kraft has been quietly updating since the league's hit job was published in May 2015. With the NFL Players Association back in court, dueling with the NFL, an update was necessary to counter some of the NFL's claims.
For instance, the NFL lawyers were just straight up lying in court when they said that the two Patriots staffers used the nickname "Deflator" throughout the season, when it was really a one-off text sent in the Spring. They were also lying when they said that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady claimed to only speak with the staffer about football preparation and not the allegations, when the transcript of the appeal revealed the exact opposite answer from Brady.
No one should expect the NFL to be honest about anything on this topic because they've been lying through it all. They were responsible for the original leak (as ESPN's ombudsman detailed about the network's own mishandling of the reporting), and they were in charge of skewing the public response against the Patriots because they overreacted and the owners were sick and tired of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's incorrect reactions to player issues over the prior year.
The site update covers all of the "Myths" that are being spouted around the fabricated ordeal and the coverage is pretty impressive.
2. It's wild that the truth no longer has any bearing on whether or not Brady will be suspended. It's purely about whether or not Goodell has the ability to suspend a player on a whim, so long as he can pay multiple-millions of dollars to a garbage pay-for-hire "science" entity to produce a report that supports Goodell's decision.
3. Also, the Patriots lost first round pick is looking even uglier with all of these contracts that are thrown around. The Chiefs gave Raiders free agent wide receiver Rod Streater a one-year contract for up to $4.8 million. I liked Streater and thought that he could offer potential with the Patriots.
But he has played in 4 games, with 10 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown over the past two seasons. He was pretty much a healthy scratch the entirety of 2015. That's crazy money. The Patriots are smart not to throw around that type of cash, but the veteran prices really highlights the importance of draft capital and the Patriots are the best in the business at getting the most out of first round picks.
4. The Patriots have signed special teams linebacker Ramon Humber, back-end of the roster defensive tackle Frank Kearse, and Bills slot receiver Chris Hogan. That's not a fearsome offseason.
But think of it this way: if the Patriots finish the 2016 offseason with a contract extension for the best quarterback in football, Tom Brady, through the year 2019, they pick up the contract option with the best tight end in football, Rob Gronkowski, through the year 2019, and then they start to sign extensions for some of the best defenders in football (Jabaal Sheard, Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler), wouldn't that be a win?
If the Patriots can retain their homegrown talent with extensions this offseason, then that is a great year. We were prepared to measure the Patriots free agency period with one or two signings, in addition to how the Patriots handled contract extensions. Hogan might not be a fireworks signing, but free agency is just getting started. Don't be quick to judge the offseason just yet.
5. The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is ongoing and there will be some terrific insight from the Patriots' Nick Caserio. Caserio reportedly said that the crop of free agents was weak and that the prices were far too high for the Patriots be interested. This is all true. We'll report more information when it becomes available, but just note that the Patriots know what they're doing. They have an actual strategy that goes beyond "spend a lot of money."