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Tom Brady leads NFL merchandise sales as DeflateGate suspension appeal drags on

DeflateGate may have inflated Tom Brady's merchandise sales.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is currently in a drawn-out battle with the league over his four-game suspension, but that hasn't done anything to hurt his merchandise sales. In fact, the whole thing may have helped him. Brady led the league in player merchandise sales from March 1 through May 31, according to figures released by the NFL Players Association.

That merchandise doesn't just include jersey sales. It represents all officially licensed merchandise concerning the player, including figures and more. Brady actually trailed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in head-to-head jersey sales, and Kaepernick was tops when it came to women's apparel, but Brady holds the top spot across all forms of swag.

Interestingly, Brady had never ranked in the top three as far as merchandise sales are concerned, according to the figures. For a player who has been dominant for so long, that's surprising. Then again, the longer he's played, the more people already have his jersey and don't need another one. Only a special circumstance like DeflateGate can seemingly spur sales.

If Brady's numbers have moved the needle at all, he'll get a bigger slice of the pie that is distributed to players from merchandise revenue. That revenue is split evenly, however, so every player in the NFL is equally benefiting from Brady's protracted battle with the NFL. The top five in merchandise sales are all quarterbacks -- Brady, Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. After that, J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, Odell Beckham Jr., Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston round out the top 10.

Brady outsold all other players in mini-figures, bobbleheads, fatheads and headwear.