Amid reports that there are some type of back channel negotiations taking place between the New England Patriots and the NFL surrounding Deflategate, comes this report from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole.
The respected NFL insider is reporting that people close to the situation at the owners’ meeting in San Francisco this week expect the league-mandated punishments handed down to the Patriots to be reduced.
In this, the NFL is realizing that it might have come down a bit too hard on the Patriots after the findings in the Wells Report—a report that obviously had some holes in it.
“In talking to a source close to the situation, basically what’s happened here is that there’s a recognition on both sides. Number one is that the league was probably too harsh considering the evidence that it had, and that there are obviously holes in the Wells Report.
On the Patriots side of this, there’s a recognition that despite the fact that they fervently believe they did nothing wrong—and that Tom Brady has maintained all along that he did nothing wrong—the problem is that there is an awful lot of damning evidence in the Wells Report that they simply can’t get around. From that perspective, the Patriots realize there has to be some penalty. The NFL realizes it probably has to be reduced in some specific way.”
There are a couple different things to look at here. Cole didn’t indicate one way or another whether Brady’s suspension would be shortened. Instead, his report focused on the overall penalties handed down to the Patriots, which could very well include the Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
Secondly, the NFL offering to potentially reduce penalties is one thing. Actually reducing said penalties to a level that would be okay with the Patriots is a completely different thing. The league may want to give New England its fourth-round pick in 2017 back, while the Patriots may want their first rounder next year returned to them.
Either way, it appears that both sides are attempting to avoid what could be a drawn-out legal battle in the court system.
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