Felger: So what's the deal between Brady and NFL?

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There's still time for a deal in the Tom Brady deflation case, and if I had to handicap all potential outcomes, I would say a reduced suspension in lieu of a full federal court trial is still the leader in the clubhouse.

But if each side continues to overplay their hand, then forget it. There'll be no deal. It's why talks fell apart this time around

From what I understand, Brady would have considered a one-game suspension based on the language of the resulting announcement. Ditto for the NFL. If Brady said the right things, Roger Goodell would have gone to a single game.

It seems ludicrous that, with so much at stake for everyone involved, both sides would blow up a deal based on language in the settlement. But in this case, the wording was everything.

Tom Brady reportedly wanted the league to "seal" the details of the case?

That was an impossible ask on his part. The NFL buried the evidence in the Spygate case eight years ago and Goodell is still paying for it in the court of public opinion. It's part of the reason no one trusts him. This time, the league simply had to be more transparent. (Notice I didn't say "totally" transparent, because I still don't think the league has told us everything they have on the Pats . . . In other words, they may have more on Brady than just the destroyed phone.)

Bottom line, there's no way Goodell could go to the rest of the league and say the Deflategate evidence lies at the bottom of the river with the Spygate evidence. He had to show more of his cards. A sealed record was impossible.

Meanwhile, the league wanted Brady to admit guilt?

That, too, was an impossibility. Brady might have been able to do that six months ago, but not now. Not after his coach, his owner, his agent, his union and his countless minions spent the past half-year professing his innocence.

A Brady admission would have put the lie to Bill Belichick's Mona Lisa Vito press conference, the Wells Report in Context and countless public statements from Robert Kraft, DeMaurice Smith and anyone else in Brady's corner.

So that's where Brady remains today -- backed into the proverbial corner. And he was put there by the people around him. He was backed into it by the Patriots decision to make this whole episode World War III as opposed to simply admitting to an equipment violation early in the process. And he was backed into it by his union, which wants blood in federal court.

Brady may still fight his way out of that corner, but it will now be harder than ever.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz daily on 98.5 FM from 2-6 p.m. The simulcast daily on Comcast SportsNet.

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