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Tom Brady discipline: 'everything is being considered'

Two notable topics dominate the NFL landscape now and both affect the Miami Dolphins to varying degrees.

The small tidbit of news I can offer is that the NFL is weighing a suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady that could span up to one season. "Everything is being studied, everything is being considered," an NFL source with knowledge of the disciplinary procedure told me Wednesday night.

The source said it would be wrong to think a season-long suspension will absolutely be the punishment doled out because that decision had not been finalized at the time of our conversation. But he also said it would be wrong to dismiss such an extended and seemingly improbable length of time as the ceiling for discipline.

The source declined to give a discipline floor, or the most lenient discipline Brady is facing. Interestingly, the source did not mention possible discipline for New England coach Bill Belichick or owner Robert Kraft.

It is clear the NFL is expecting to hand down some sort of discipline on #deflategate following the unveiling of the Ted Wells report at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The process is in the hands of NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent and others.

(Yes, the Troy Vincent who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, and also played for the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles).

ESPN has reported the NFL would respond to this Wells Report (there was another, you may recall) within days, not weeks.

That time frame is correct. 

Obviously, if Brady misses the entire season, the AFC East is up for grabs. Indeed, this has implications beyond the division.

The last time a team other than New England won the AFC East was 2008 when the Dolphins won the division in a year Brady was injured the first regular-season game and missed the rest of the year.

Even a lesser suspension for Brady could affect the division. New England's backup quarterback is second-year player Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo has thrown 27 NFL regular-season passes.

The second matter involving the Dolphins is the ongoing courting of undrafted free agent player La'el Collins by dozens of teams.

The offensive lineman is going to start making trips to various interested teams. Multiple reports Wednesday said the Dallas Cowboys will be the first trip he takes. There is a report by a New Orleans TV station that Collins will visit the Dolphins within 24 hours. I have not been able to confirm this report.

Baton Rouge police confirmed Wednesday that paternity tests said Collins was not the father of the unborn child his ex-girlfriend was carrying when she (and the child) were shot and killed in late April.

Of interest in the Collins matter is whether the Dolphins can offer him a chance to play offensive tackle, something his representatives want because it would maximizes his earning potential for his second contract.

Would the Dolphins do that?

Miami's left tackle is Branden Albert. Miami's right tackle is Ja'Wuan James. The team went to great lengths to get both in 2014 -- paying Albert $46 million in free agency and drafting James in the first round.

What the Dolphins really need is a left guard.

But as Albert is still recovering from knee surgery and James is solid but not great, the thinking here is the Dolphins can always pitch to Collins an opportunity to start at tackle if he is the best player at the position.

They can point to the fact Mike Pouncey, a Pro Bowl center, played right guard last year because Samson Satele surprisingly was the best fit for the team at center.

Most teams, however, are also likely to offer similar opportunities to play tackle if Collins is the best fit available.

Collins visited the Dolphins prior to the draft. Dolphins players went to visit, support, and yes, recruit Collins in Louisiana Tuesday afternoon and evening.