Is Patriots' pick from Saints safe?

Is it possible the New England Patriots, who had the NFL's biggest scandal in recent memory with "Spygate," can become an innocent casualty from the controversy over the New Orleans Saints' bounty system?

No chance. Don't count on it.

In addition to fines and suspensions, there is a very good chance the Saints will lose future draft picks due to their alleged bounty system. But the Saints will not have this year's first-round pick (No. 27 overall) taken away, because they already traded those rights last year to the Patriots.

New England has New Orleans' first rounder in April via a draft-day trade that involved Saints running back Mark Ingram. The NFL will not punish the Patriots.

What this could mean for the Saints is their draft picks could be lost further down the line. New England was stripped of a first rounder and fined for Spygate. New Orleans already lost its first rounder this year, and the league's punishment for picks could begin in 2013.