And you thought the deluge of Deflategate-related news -- reduced to a trickle in recent months -- would be dried up by now.
Yeah. About that.
By agreeing to a trade with the Saints that sent New Orleans the No. 32 overall pick and a third-rounder in exchange for receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-rounder, the Patriots picked up the draft choice that will be wiped out by the league as part of the Deflategate punishment.
When the league issued its discipline, it was clear that when the Patriots would be docked a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2017, the picks taken would be the team's highest picks in those rounds.
In receiving No. 118 from the Saints in the Cooks deal, that pick becomes their highest fourth-rounder and will be erased by the NFL. The Patriots had two other fourth-round picks headed into the week -- No. 132 (from Seattle) and No. 137. After trading No. 137 in a deal with the Colts to receive tight end Dwayne Allen, the Patriots will have No. 132 restored.
As Pro Football Talk points out, before the Saints-Patriots trade becomes official, it's possible that the Saints would try to trade down, swap fourth-rounders with another club, and pick up some extra draft capital. So long as the pick sent to the Patriots is between No. 118 and No. 131, New England would not be affected because they'd lose the pick no matter what.
Below is a quick breakdown of the picks the Patriots own at this point. Of course, things could change. The way the Patriots have operated over the course of the last week serves as a reminder that everything is fluid, especially since they may want to find a way to slide back into the top two rounds of the draft.
THIRD ROUND: No. 72 (from Carolina), No. 96 (compensatory)
FOURTH ROUND: No 132 (from Seattle)
FIFTH ROUND: No. 163, No. 183 (compensatory)
SIXTH ROUND: No. 200 (from Indianapolis)
SEVENTH ROUND: No. 239