A few weeks back, everyone in New England was up in arms about a Sam Monson article on ESPN.com that argued how Tom Brady was no longer a top five QB in the NFL. While there were plenty of backlash stories to Monson's piece, most citing the fact that Brady was throwing to mainly rookies and things named Hoomanawanui last season, it did make many Patriots fans finally call Brady's age into question. I mean, just how long can No. 12 play at an elite level? It's more than a fair question.
Thursday we got some news that may confirm Brady's best days actually are behind him, and it's not because of deteriorating arm strength or conditioning issues - the things that typically plague quarterbacks in the twilight of their careers.
Brady apparently did two things that are typically inexcusable under typical Patriots/Bill Belichick guidelines. No. 1: He bragged. No. 2: He traded team secrets with the enemy.
In an interview with themmqb.com, current Cleveland Browns head coach and former New York Jets assistant Mike Pettine suggested that the Patriots obtained a Jets playbook through Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Saban and Belichick go way back, of course, but Saban is also somewhat chummy with Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
"[Rex] gave [a playbook] out to Saban, and I was like, 'Don't you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England," Pettine told the website.
So how does Brady fit into this? According to Pettine, Brady "bragged" that the Patriots had the Jets playbook to Mike Smith, then the Jets' outside linebackers coach, at the wedding of Wes Welker. Welker's wedding took place in the summer of 2012 and Smith still served as a Jets' defensive assistant during the 2012 season that followed.
Maybe Brady's play on the actual gridiron isn't dropping, but he's apparently gotten a little sloppy in his social life, as bragging to the enemy that you have classified info on them isn't exactly the "Patriot Way."
In the end though, Brady's mouth fumble probably won't matter to the Patriots. We all know Belichick will ultimately find a way to blame Welker for this whole ordeal.
Follow Metro Boston Sports Editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS