From the looks of things, Tom Brady is going to be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL Season, after a federal appeals court rejected his request to get a new hearing in the “deflategate” drama that just won’t end.
Brady asked the full 2nd US courts of appeals to hear the case, following the April decision by a panel that determined Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend Brady, although that suspension was initially overturned by a US district judge. The NFL appealed to the 2nd circuit, and a three-judge panel flipped the decision once again, which means Brady will be suspended four games, a year after the punishment was originally intended for.
Brady now has one shot at overturning the suspension again: The Supreme court, but according to former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, it is not something we have resolved ourselves to doing.
So if Brady is suspended, Patriots fans will finally have a chance to see Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady’s backup for the last two seasons, play some meaningful time in a regular season game. He has six appearances in his NFL career outside the preseason, but a total of 31 pass attempts, one touchdown and 0 interceptions. Basically, no one knows how good he is, but assuming Bill Belichick wouldn’t hold on to him if he wasn’t confident he can fill in for Brady, maybe there’s not too much Patriots fans need to worry about.
So if Brady is indeed suspended, he’ll make his debut in week 5 against the Cleveland Browns, while Garoppolo gets to play against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Brady, who signed an extension in the offseason which resulted in a $28 million signing bonus, the guaranteed portion of the $41 million extension, won’t lose too much money by being suspended: His base salary after the extension is only $1 million for the 2016 season, which means he loses out on $250,000 more or less.
He’s probably not happy about missing time, but saving himself around $1.9 million with that deal (would have been $2.1 million on the original $9 million base salary) helps sooth the pain.