During the lockout, coaches aren’t allowed to talk to current players. The supposed penalty is termination for cause. (We’re sure the Pats will do that if they catch Bill Belichick in a Skype session with Tom Brady.)
General Managers face a far less bright line, given that they need to be talking to agents about potential draft picks. Moreover, some G.M.’s are represented by agents who represent players.
In an effort to ensure that conversations don’t drift to matters relating to current players, General Managers are required to keep a log of every call with an agent, according to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. Topics are limited to the incoming draft picks and personal business involving the G.M. and his agent.
The league supposedly is concerned that violations would used by the NFLPA* in litigation. It’s not something that would be used in the antitrust litigation filed Friday in Minnesota; instead, potential problems would arise if the league secures a ruling forcing the union to reform, and when the league then persists with a lockout. Under those circumstances, the league would want to give the non-asterisked NFLPA no basis for arguing that the league was doing anything to undermine the lockout status, or to encourage/urge players to practice or otherwise work out while being locked out.
As Marvez surmises, violations will still occur. Even though many agents are aligned philosophically with the players, agents also have to eventually do business with the individual teams. Thus, don’t count on any agents to blow the whistle if/when conversations with G.M.’s stray into forbidden territory.