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Unless Tom Brady's previously rescinded, currently reinstated four-game suspension is overturned again, the Patriots will open the regular season against a Super Bowl contender in Arizona sans arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the game -- all because of some deflated footballs used in a 45-7 game a year and a half ago.

Once again, Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo entered minicamp preparing as if he'll play during the first four weeks of the season. This time, after spending his second full season sitting behind Brady, he might be ready for the task ahead -- at least according to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who spoke about Garoppolo's development after Monday's practice.


"He's doing great, definitely," Gronkowski said, per MassLive. "You can see a huge development over the last two years in the way he handles the offense now. He's doing a great job going out there, listening to coaches and just working together with the whole team."


>>Broncos Sign LB Marshall


The Broncos spent the opening period of free agency getting gutted. On Tuesday, though, they ensured one of their top defensive playmakers will stick around in Denver for the foreseeable future.


As first reported by 9News' Mike Klis, the Broncos signed linebacker Brandon Marshall -- not the Jets wide receiver of the same name -- to a four-year extension that includes a $10 million signing bonus. Minutes later, Troy Renck of the Denver Post confirmed Klis' report and provided more financial details. According to Renck, it'll be a $32 million deal with $20 million guaranteed.


John Elway then provided his own confirmation via Twitter.


Marshall -- a former Jaguar and member of the Broncos' practice squad until Peyton Manning jump-started his career -- has turned into one of the team's most dependable defenders. He appeared in all 16 games last season and led the team in solo tackles with 77.

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