With the lockout returning on Friday, April 29 following a brief, court-ordered hiatus, teams were not permitted to sign after the draft ended any of the players who weren’t picked. In theory, teams also aren’t permitted to contact those players or their agents.
But contact the players and/or agents some teams are.
According to Pro Football Weekly, at least six agents have said that teams are contacting them about players who weren’t picked. “It was almost like a normal year in terms of contact, a little less [phone contact] than normal maybe, only without the signed contracts at the end,” one of the agents said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFW that such contact would amount to tampering.
Which means that, as a practical matter, the league will do nothing about it, unless and until, for example, one of the teams gets caught red-handed and then confesses and then doesn’t ever try to take it back. Every year, teams tamper with undrafted players by recruiting them before the draft has ended. The league knows it, and the league never does anything about it.
The only difference here is that the NFL has launched a lockout. But that doesn’t change the fact that the league is reluctant to publicly chastise teams that cheat. Instead, the league office adopts a see/hear/speak-no-evil posture, acting only when a team’s conduct is so brazen that it gives the league no other choice.