Before the book can be closed once and for all on the football-inflation odyssey known as #DeflateGate, one more thing still has to occur.
As noted by Alex Rikleen of the Boston Herald, the process will end after the Patriots forfeit their selection in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.
The Patriots have found multiple contributors in the fourth round. From current Patriots like running back James White to receiver Malcolm Mitchell to defensive linemen Trey Flowers to offensive linemen Shaq Mason and Cameron Fleming to kicker Stephen Gostkowski, each arrived in New England via round four.
Other key Patriots came after round four, which underscores the potential value of that round. Tackle Marcus Cannon was a fifth-round pick, for example. Receiver Julian Edelman arrived via round seven.
And, of course, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game was picked two rounds after the fourth round.
So losing a fourth-round pick remains a big deal for the Patriots — even if there will be no way of knowing who Patriots would have taken with that pick and whether that player will develop into the kind of player elsewhere that he would have become in New England.