The lasting legacy of Deflategate; Brady’s four-game suspension may not be the worst thing for the Patriots.
After 18 exhausting, torturous months the saga known as Deflategate has seemingly come to a close.
What started as a minor accusation turned into an extensive issue and eventually a courtroom drama. After his appeal was denied by federal court, Tom Brady has decided to no longer pursue legal action, after it was rumored he would take the ordeal all the way to the supreme court. In turn, it looks as though the beloved Patriot’s quarterback will actually serve the four-game suspension that was first issued by Commissioner Goodell back in May.
Of course, this news is not ideal for Patriots fans or the team. Any time a team loses a premier player for an extender period of time, let alone quarterback, it doesn’t exactly boost your stock. We’d love to see TB12 running out onto the field in Week 1, but the fact of the matter is that isn’t going to happen. But, worry not Pat’s fans. Believe it or not, there is actually some upside to Brady being sidelined for the first four weeks.
First off, let’s remember who the team is playing in those first four games. After opening week 1 with the Cardinals in prime time, the Patriots return home for three straight games against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills, respectively. That’s not exactly a backbreaking schedule. In fact, it’s actually the easier portion of the team’s 2016 campaign, which features match ups against the Bengals, Steelers, Seahawks and Jets, all of which Brady will be available for. A favorable first four games certainly helps the cause.
Secondly, the four-game suspension may actually benefit Brady in the long haul. While the fierce competitor and physical specimen in him would never admit to it, being sideline for the first four weeks will only help maintain his stamina and freshness moving forward in the season. While he is playing as though he is in the prime of his career, lets not forget, the four-time Super Bowl Champion will turn 39 on August 3rd. He’s not exactly a spring chicken. An elongated rest will presumably be in the quarterback’s favor as the team enters post season play.
Of course, as a result of the suspension, Jimmy Garoppolo will finally get his chance as a starting quarterback. After being drafted in the second round in the 2014 draft, the Eastern Illinois product will be under the helm amidst Brady’s absence. As a result of Brady’s consistent high-level play, there was doubt that Jimmy G would ever see the field at all. Now, as the first team’s quarterback for the first quarter of the season, we will finally see what Garoppolo has.
With that being said, Garappolo’s play in these first four games could cause a chain reaction for himself and the team. If he plays at a high level and proves himself capable of being a legitimate NFL quarterback, he could become a valuable trade chip for the Patriots. Naturally, one would think a run of solid play would solidify Garappolo’s spot as the Patriot’s quarterback of the future, but recent events deem that highly unlikely.
In March, Brady inked a two-year extension on his contract, keeping him under the Patriot’s control until 2019. Judging by the way he has been playing recently, Tom Terrific shows no signs of slowing down and seems entirely able to play out his four-year contract with the team. On the flip side, Garoppolo’s rookie contract will come to a close at the end of the 2017 season, two years before Brady’s ends. If Garoppolo demonstrates starting quarterback ability in these first four games, it is hard to imagine he would opt to continue serving as a backup in New England. An impressive showing from Garoppolo could translate into a nice trade return for the Patriots.
Finally, one has to imagine that the outcome of this nearly two-year controversy will naturally light a fire under the Patriots. With a roster that is already built for a deep run in the playoffs, this added motivation could make them a downright force in the league. With Brady having gone through hell and back dating back to last January, hoisting his fifth Lombardi Trophy as Roger Goodell looks on could be the sweetest one of his already Hall of Fame career.
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