The Patriots benefit greatly from cornerback Alfonzo Dennard's delayed jail time.

Convicted of felony assault on a police officer in Nebraska and misdemeanor resisting arrest, Dennard was facing up to 5 years in jail for his crimes. Instead, he's getting 30 days in jail and 2 years of probation, along with 100 hours of "law-enforcement related" community service.

But the kicker is he doesn't have to do any jail time in the near future, forced to report to jail March 1, 2014, allowing him to take part in the entire 2013 NFL season. Maybe even the Duck Boat parade if it comes to that.

Coach Bill Belichick, along with Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini, wrote letters to the judge on Dennard's behalf.

While Dennard may still be upset that he has to serve any time at all (something at least his attorney is arguing), the Patriots can breathe a sigh of relief. Along with Devin McCourty, Dennard has been one of the team's few recent draft picks at defensive back that have worked out. The jury is still out on Ras-I Dowling.

But what's more, Dennard's stayed sentence means the Patriots don't have such a glaring hole at cornerback for the 2013 season, allowing for the team to move more comfortably in the draft and in a position of control, rather than one of desperation.

It also means that Belichick's gamble on Dennard, a seventh round pick in 2012, has paid off. While he had been projected to be selected in the third, fourth, or fifth rounds, he dropped all the way to the seventh because of his arrest just days before the draft -- losing a ton of money in the process.