With quarterback Tom Brady expected to hear from the NFL this week about a possible suspension for his role in Deflategate, the New England Patriots could be looking to sign another veteran quarterback.
If he is suspended, Brady would be the highest-profile NFL player ever to receive such a punishment in the 96-year history of the league.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Boston.com on Saturday that “no decisions have been made” regarding any potential punishment for Brady.
Aiello was responding to an article by Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, with the headline, “Tom Brady will be suspended by Roger Goodell for role in DeflateGate, announcement expected next week.”
“It is Gary Myers’ prediction,” Aiello wrote. “The headline is misleading.”
If a suspension is announced this week, the Patriots likely would need to add to their roster, with the only other quarterbacks on the depth chart behind Brady are untested Jimmy Garoppolo and Garrett Gilbert.
Both 23-year-olds quarterbacks have never started an NFL game.
Garoppolo, who was Brady’s backup during his rookie season in 2014, completed 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, mostly in mop-up duty.
Gilbert was a sixth-round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams in 2014 out of SMU who first joined the Patriots’ practice squad in mid-December.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston floats the name of longtime Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn as a possible free agent signing. Other veteran quarterbacks available include Michael Vick, Jason Campbell and Tarvaris Jackson.
The 243-page Ted Wells report was released Wednesday and concluded that the Patriots “more probable than not” violated NFL rules and Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of the deflated game balls.
Brady did not willingly reveal conversations, text messages and emails requested by Wells and his investigative team.
Wells found Brady and the Patriots’ equipment staff were all likely culpable in reducing the psi, mandated at 12.5 pounds, of 11 footballs in the AFC Championship game in January against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts brought the issue to the attention of the league, sparking a four-month investigation.
In his summary, Wells wrote about the irregularities in the footballs used in the game when the Patriots routed the Colts 45-7 to win the AFC title. The Patriots went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in the Super Bowl.
Bovada, a gambling website, has posted three prop wagers around Brady’s potential suspension: Will he be suspended for at least one game, will he be suspended for the full 2015 season and how many games will he be suspended?
The Patriots, as Super Bowl champions, open the 2015 NFL season against the Pittsburgh Steelers at New England on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Fans everywhere will be watching for any league announcement this week on Deflategate to determine whether Brady — or someone else — will be facing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the season opener.