Every February, the NFL descends on Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine. With only a few weeks to go until the launch of free agency, plenty of the meetings between teams and agents include discussions regarding specific clients of each agent who technically remain under contract with another team.
It’s the NFL’s dirty little secret, which via the passage of time has become neither little nor dirty. It’s now an accepted business practice, so rampant that the league has in the past contemplated a pre-free agency period during which such communications don’t violate rules that are rarely enforced.
Today’s comments from agent Tom Condon to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald regarding Rams (for now) receiver Brandon Lloyd demonstrate the nonchalance of inevitable conversations that indisputably aren’t permitted. “If [the Patriots] have an interest [in Lloyd] they call up and tell you when free agency starts or they meet you at the Combine or whenever.”
Neither Condon nor any other agent does anything wrong by engaging in such conversations. Agents aren’t prohibited from talking to new teams about clients who are under contract with other teams. Condon’s casual reference to these Combine meetings demonstrates the broader attitude toward these discussions.
Yes, the rule prohibit them. No, nobody respects the rule.
So why not change the rule? It’s a bad look for the NFL, having a bright-line rule on the books as to which the league office and every team wears blinders.
Maybe the Competition Committee, which now includes Rams coach Jeff Fisher, will add this one to its list of suggested changes to be considered by the full ownership in March.