NFL AM: U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Tom Brady’s Suspension


U.S. Appeals court reinstates Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension:

Fan-freaking-tastic. That was likely the response of football fans far and wide yesterday as the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the ruling on the NFL’s suspension of Tom Brady, reinstating the 4-game ban which was overturned by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman before the 2015 season.

The reaction for most football fans likely wasn’t elation because many of them hate the Patriots and are happy to see Brady pay for his perceived cheating. Instead, most football fans looked at the return of “Deflate-gate” news with, “aw jeez, not this bleep again.”

I suppose we should write about the 33-page decision which ruled Roger Goodell was working within the guidelines collectively bargained between the NFLPA and the league, but it seems more prudent to ask the question, why?

Why are we tying up the United States court system for this ridiculous debate? The NFL should have dropped this case a long time ago, and allowed us to just do what their opening weekend promos tell us to do. Get, “back to football.”

It’s difficult to write a serious piece about what has become an absolute joke. In a league where they need to be worried about concussions, how to handle drug use or violent crimes committed by their players, and the trend of their players retiring early, it’s hard to understand why they can justify spending this much time, on this.

While the NFL can argue that the issue of whether or not the commissioner has power to rule over suspensions and their appeals is an important issue, this parade of lunacy isn’t good for anybody, and it sure as hell isn’t good for football.

While New England Patriots fans are livid about the decision, the courts explained that their scope was very limited, and only focused on a few basic principles of the CBA. The court made it clear during their decision that it was not their job to decide whether or not Brady cheated, rather if Goodell acted within the CBA in his subsequent actions.

“The basic principle driving both our analysis and our conclusion is well established: a federal court’s review of labor arbitration awards is narrowly circumscribed and highly deferential — indeed, among the most deferential in the law. Our role is not to determine whether Brady participated in a scheme to deflate footballs or whether the suspension imposed by the commissioner should have been for three games or five games or none at all. Nor is it our role to second-guess the arbitrator’s procedural rulings.

“Our obligation is limited to determining whether the arbitration proceedings and award met the minimum legal standards established by the Labor Management Relations Act.”

Regardless of where you fall on this debate, and whether or not you’re a Patriots fan, there’s one thing we should all be able to agree with when it comes to this whole thing. It’s an absurd waste of time, and it really needs to go away.

Sam Bradford wants to be traded:

The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the 2nd-overall pick to draft the future at quarterback, but stressed when they did that Sam Bradford who re-signed with the team for two years in February would still be the team’s starter in 2016.

There’s just one problem with that; Bradford is livid that the team traded up for a signal caller, and for some reason believes he’s owed something despite having a less than impressive, injury-riddled career. In fact, the former 1st-overall pick doesn’t just believe he deserves the assurance to know he’s the starter for the upcoming season (something the Eagles have already given him), he believes he deserves to be with a team that looks at him as the long-term future for their franchise.

While some may wonder why the hell a quarterback who’s done nothing in this league but earn money hand over fist deserves to be in a place where he’s the unquestioned future, the better question may be if there’s anywhere left where they may actually view him that way? Even if Bradford were to land with a quarterback starved team like the Denver Broncos or New York Jets, there’s very little chance they’d anoint him the future of the franchise and not look for another guy who could be the future.

Bradford should understand that his history of injury and lack luster play when healthy hasn’t earned him a damn thing except the around 100 million dollars he’s had guaranteed in his career.

To think that the Rams and Eagles have contributed to making Bradford one of the richest men in the league, only to feel that they were still in a position where they needed to move up to the first two picks in the draft to fix the quarterback position he couldn’t sufficiently fill, and that he’s the one who’s angry is pretty freaking hilarious.

Bradford’s agent Tom Condon tried to explain his client’s positon on Sirius XM NFL radio Monday, but there’s really no good excuse for this guy feeling like he shouldn’t have to compete.

“Sam’s only been in the league for six years and he wants to go someplace and be there and know that he’s going to stay as long as he plays well, and his situation now in Philadelphia is different.”

His situation is different because Bradford didn’t do enough in Philadelphia for them to believe he was the future of the franchise, and he should have known that when the team offered him a 2-year deal. Franchise quarterbacks don’t get stop-gap contracts, and Bradford should have known that’s exactly what he signed in February.

“He doesn’t view himself as somebody that’s a stop-gap kind of quarterback and he wants to go someplace and take a chance on (being) with a team with a long time,” Condon explained. “I can’t blame him for that.”

Bradford sounds like a rich kid who doesn’t understand that his money can’t buy him everything he wants. Clearly he’s spent his life being the best, and being treated like the best. Unfortunately for him, being the best didn’t last after college, and he’s completely unprepared to earn the respect he believes is due to him.

Brandon Carr accepts pay cut to stay in Dallas:

Brandon Carr was supposed to be the answer at cornerback when the Dallas Cowboys signed him to a huge contract in 2012, but he has struggled to look like the player he was with the Kansas City Chiefs since landing in Dallas.

Scheduled to make over $9 million this season, many expected Carr to be a cap casualty in Dallas, but the veteran corner agreed to a pay cut to remain with the team, reducing his 2016 salary to $5.5 million.

The move was likely a smart one for Carr. The veteran corner doesn’t have a lot left, and it’s unlikely he could have found more than the 5.5 million he’ll receive from Dallas this season on the open market. It’s also unlikely Carr would have found a better opportunity than Dallas from a playing standpoint either. Carr has been in Dallas, knows the system, and can count on regular playing time with the Boys as long as the wheels don’t completely fall off this year.

For Carr, seeing regular snaps in Dallas is a lot more likely than another team deciding to give significant playing time to an aging, slowing veteran cornerback who hasn’t recorded an interception in the last two seasons.

If Carr is smart, he understands this could likely be his last year in football, and not just his last year with the Cowboys. If that’s the case, the year will be much easier for the veteran corner playing it out with the team he’s spent half his career with than it would be anywhere else. Whether he liked it or not, Carr was taking a pay cut in 2016, so it only makes sense that he took the cut to stay where he’s comfortable instead of trying to start over again at this stage of his career.

About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.