When the NFL ruled on the Deflategate saga last spring, the punishment against both the Patriots and Tom Brady seemed overly severe.
While Brady's four-game suspension was nullified in the court system – though the issue remains in the appeals process – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell signed off on a punishment for the team that included a $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round pick in this year's draft as well as a fourth-round selection in 2017.
New England fans and local pundits immediately questioned the severity of the penalty. Now, Peter King brings new attention to the over-the-top punishment in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column.
"Goodell admitted his error with Ray Rice in 2014, and was wounded by it," King writes. "He can admit an error again, and should, because it's the right thing to do. He should give the draft picks back to New England."
The NFL Scouting Combine takes place this week in Indianapolis and the Boston Globe looks at some of the local New England college talent that will be on hand at the football pre-draft meat market.
The Globe also looks at the fun and games that took place on Rob Gronkowski's cruise, which sailed the seas over the weekend.
With Jerod Mayo having announced his retirement last week on social media, the* Boston Herald* says that leadership will be the All-Pro linebacker's legacy in New England.
ESPNBoston.com has Mike Reiss' weekly must-read Sunday notes, which includes Tedy Bruschi's very respectful thoughts on Mayo after the latter's retirement announcement. The site also wonders if recent Rams released players Chris Long, James Laurinaitis or Jared Cook might fit the Patriots needs.
ESPN takes a look behind the scenes on Gronk's "Party Ship."
WEEI.com's Sunday notes digs into the difficulty of the Patriots 2016 schedule, among other things.
CSNNE.com continues its positional Patriots breakdowns with a look at running back.
With the Combine in the news, MassLive.com looks back at Tom Brady's famously slow 40-yard dash in Indy.
NJ.com notes that it's a very different offseason for Patriots safety Devin McCourty.