New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his team were penalized a 2016 first-round draft pick and a 2017 fourth-round selection as part of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's punishment for Deflategate.
Speaking Monday at the league's annual spring meetings, Kraft said he wrote a letter to Goodell over a month ago outlining the reasons the Patriots should get their 2016 pick back, per the Washington Post's Mark Maske.
Jason Cole of Bleacher Report spoke to a league spokesman, who said the NFL has "no comment" on Kraft's request. However, Judy Battista of NFL.com spoke to an NFL source, who said there is "zero chance" the Patriots will get their draft pick back.
On Wednesday, Goodell responded, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer, with CBS Sports' Will Brinson providing an additional remark:
Roger Goodell said he responded to Robert Kraft's letter about restoring his draft picks. Said there is no new info, pick won't be restored— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2016
Roger Goodell said he responded to Pats owner Robert Kraft's letter two weeks ago -- "There'll be no changes to the discipline."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 23, 2016
Possibility of a settlement in court with Tom Brady? Roger Goodell: "I'm not aware of that."— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 23, 2016
As reported by the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels, Kraft believes the NFL should return New England's pick since the league didn't factor in the ideal gas law and also requested PSI levels be tested for every game.
"I pray [and] desire" for the draft penalty to be taken back, Kraft said, per Rapoport. "We've done everything we can do."
Rapoport said it was "clear" Kraft knows getting the pick back is unlikely.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated speculated about why the Patriots owner went public with his remarks:
If Kraft is letting media know of letter to Goodell, he may have asked NFL if that was ok. Maybe picks coming back. https://t.co/qWhBPAT8cu— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) March 21, 2016
Kraft praised Goodell's overall performance but said, per Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo, "We have our issue that we don't think has been handled well but it is what it is."
The Patriots won the AFC East for the 12th time in 13 years last season, overcoming the Deflategate adversity and numerous injuries to go 12-4 and make it to the AFC title game.
One could argue New England will be fine without a first-round pick in the upcoming draft, given Bill Belichick's ability to evaluate and find talent. Beyond that, with additions such as Chris Long and Chris Hogan in free agency, New England has made the type of offseason moves that will help mitigate the loss of a first-round selection.
But with an excellent coach in Belichick who specializes in blocking out off-field distractions, New England's typical standard of excellence should once again be the expectation in 2016.