Did the New England Patriots just pull a (legal) fast one on the rest of the NFL?

Sunday featured a whirlwind of highly relevant Patriots news. In addition to reportedly agreeing to a one-year, incentive-laden deal with quarterback Cam Newton, New England also was handed a harsh punishment — including the docking of a third-round draft pick — for videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline last December.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, those two stories might be connected.

Though their intentions likely will remain unclear, the Patriots essentially could recoup the lost third-round pick if Newton eventually leaves in free agency.

Here’s Schefter’s rationale:

Of course, the ideal scenario would’ve been for the Patriots to not worry about replacing the 2021 third-rounder, but they nevertheless could kill two birds with one stone by signing Newton.

Take that, New York Post.

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