The Patriots will need to add some depth at the quarterback position now that Tom Brady's suspension has been reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
That's one of the primary on-the-field takeaways that can be gathered after news of Brady's punishment came to light on Monday.
While the Patriots obviously would have liked for Brady to win the appeal and be scheduled to start for Week 1 of the regular season, that the decision came down before the draft can allow them to try to prepare themselves accordingly.
Even when the Brady decision was still in limbo, we've written in this space (several times, in fact) that it might behoove the Patriots to draft a quarterback this year. It would provide the team with the benefit of depth in the event Brady was suspended, but it would also allow the Patriots to groom their potential backup of the future. Given that Brady is under contract through 2019, and there is a possibility that the Patriots would attempt to trade Jimmy Garoppolo between now and the end of his rookie contract that keeps in him New England through 2017.
Players like Stanford's Kevin Hogan and Michigan's Jake Rudock come from pro-style systems and could likely be had in the later rounds of this year's draft. Should the Patriots covet a more highly-touted quarterback, they could attempt to swipe Michigan State's Connor Cook if he's available in the second round -- though they might have to package picks and trade up to do so.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio could also pluck a more experienced signal-caller from free agency to serve as Garoppolo's backup.
Among the veterans available is former Patriots backup Brian Hoyer, who was released by the Texans earlier this offseason. Matt Flynn, who spent a portion of the 2015 preseason with the Patriots, is also without a team at the moment. Another free-agent quarterback, Ryan Lindley, spent about a month with the Patriots last summer before he was given his release at the end of training camp.