Normally this time of year is about roster building and the first steps teams are tacking in on-field work heading toward training camp and the new season.
But these days in New England are anything but normal, and the bulk of the local and national NFL coverage continues to be dominated by the now infamous Deflategate controversy.
With NFL owners meeting beginning today outside San Francisco, all eyes are on what news might emanate revolving around Robert Kraft, Roger Goodell and Deflategate.
The Boston Globe says from a Patriots perspective the meetings are about "Kraft confronting Goodell." The Globe brings former New England left tackle Matt Light defending the Patriots rather ardently while appearing at a charity event for Rob Ninkovich. Columnist Dan Shaughnessy says this year's NFL "meeting presents a big bowl of awkward. With tension at a historic level." The Globe also looks at the Patriots current situation as the demise of another sports dynasty.
In actual football news, the Globe notes the Patriots signing of linebacker Brandon Spikes and release of cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. An extensive league notebook from the Globe leads off with a look at the contract extension the Dolphins gave to quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The* Boston Herald* wonders how far Kraft will go on Deflategate. The Herald also notes Light blasting Goodell. The Herald makes it clear that current players in attendance at Ninkovich's fundraiser also very much defended the team and Tom Brady, including Julian Edelman, wearing what appear to be capris jorts. (That's even a thing!?)
The Herald has an Associated Press story noting that there are actual issues on the agenda at the NFL meetings. While a Herald columnist says Brady should "sue Goodell's pants off." The paper also brings word of the Spikes re-signing.
The Providence Journal also has players at the Ninkovich Ping-Pong event remaining unified in their support of Brady and the team.
ESPN reports that the Patriots and NFL are in "back-channel conversations" to resolve differences over Deflategate and its punishments. ESPN's Adam Schefter also says that a pair of Patriots employees suspended in the wake of Deflategate were disciplined that way at the request of the NFL. the request of the NFL.
ProFootballTalk.com says that leak of information is a positive for the Patriots.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss says that it's time for Kraft and Goodell to air their grievances, without lawyers being involved. The site brings blog entries detailing the Patriots release of former Michigan QB-turned-WR Devin Gardner, the contract given to linebacker Dakoda Watson and the release of LB Cameron Gordon.
CSNNE.com spoke with people at Brady's high school and not surprisingly the quarterback retains full support from his former coaches and such.
Jim Kelly told the Buffalo Democrat and Chronicle that he was "shocked" when he saw the punishment that Brady and the Patriots received from the league.
Schefter appeared on WEEI in Boston on Tuesday morning and indicated that the punishments handed down to the Patriots as a team -- $1 million fine and loss of a first- and fourth-round draft picks – is likely to remain in place moving forward while the Brady four-game suspension is what might be altered upon appeal. WEEI.com's Chris Price looks at how recent events could affect the Patriots place in the NFL power structure.
NFL.com ranks the league's top quarterbacks and Brady is probably further down that Patriots fans might expect. The site also passes along Seattle's Pete Carroll saying that the ball inflation issue "didn't affect anything" in regards to the Super Bowl.