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Teams routinely ignore the rules regarding undrafted players

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Recent events regarding bounty systems and cartoonish efforts by assistant coaches to persuade players to try to injure their opponents have made more mundane violations by NFL team far less meaningful.  But that doesn’t mean evidence of teams disregarding the rules should be ignored.

Over the weekend, a YouTube video from Mr. Irrelevant revealed that he had been negotiating with the Chargers before the draft ended.  That’s a clear violation of the rules regarding the contact that teams may have with players before the draft has ended.

An item in the Saline (Mich.) Patch provides more evidence that teams simply aren’t refraining from negotiating while the draft is still ongoing.  Agent D.S. Ping admits to the Patch that the Vikings offered a $10,000 signing bonus to one of Ping’s clients before the draft had ended.

The NFL’s options are fairly simple — enforce the rule as written or change it.  Having a rule on the books that is routinely ignored without consequence makes the NFL come off as far less buttoned up than it aspires to be, and it makes those situations in which the league takes action seem more arbitrary and less fair.

It’s unclear why negotiation isn’t permitted.  Perhaps the NFL doesn’t want teams to be squeezed into using draft picks on players who are poised to sign elsewhere as free agents.  Regardless, negotiation before the end of the draft isn’t permitted and negotiation before the end of the draft routinely is happening and it just seems foolish for the NFL to allow that situation to continue.

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33 Responses to “Teams routinely ignore the rules regarding undrafted players”
  1. shnity07 says: May 1, 2012 10:29 AM

    Note to self as any GM. Don’t deal with players who have that guy as a agent.

    Why would he throw a team under the bus, idiot.

  2. craggt says: May 1, 2012 10:35 AM

    yawn. Don’t care.

  3. nolahxc says: May 1, 2012 10:36 AM

    Clearly all the coaches should be suspended for a full season for such arrogant and blatant rule violations.

  4. woodyg says: May 1, 2012 10:39 AM

    Sorry, but, the whole world is littered with rules & regulations that people & entities don’t usually abide by. Most of them are designed only to keep the populations from veering too far from the required norm. —– I.E. —- I drove to work today going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. If the law were changed to 65 mph to support my 65 mph habit, I would go even faster.

    The NFL is closer to real life than most people know or want to admit.

  5. geemoney713 says: May 1, 2012 10:45 AM

    To all those NFL teams out there, ***REMEMBER*** we will not punish you for breaking rules, but we will, on the other hand punish you for breaking non-rules.

  6. geauxjay says: May 1, 2012 10:47 AM

    How many draft picks will the Saints lose for this?

  7. awhite46 says: May 1, 2012 10:49 AM

    Yawn. No harm, no foul.

    They can’t sign until after the draft and nothing matters until you sign on the dotted line.

  8. zn0rseman says: May 1, 2012 10:51 AM

    Uhhh… if you watch the video you can clearly hear at least a dozen teams being mentioned as having made offers… all before the draft ended.

    So how come you single out the Vikings in your article? That doesn’t seem like a fair representation of the facts at all.

  9. chipwrecked says: May 1, 2012 10:53 AM

    Another thing that I thought was odd/uncomfortable was the Steelers “negotiating” terms with the OSU tackle Adams that would allow him to get back on their draft board. Did that allow them an unfair advantage over other teams? IDK… but something didnt seem right about it.

  10. rufustfireflyjr says: May 1, 2012 10:55 AM

    Since enforcing the rule is obviously impossible, and it doesn’t serve any discernable purpose, they should just get rid of it.

  11. godofwine330 says: May 1, 2012 10:56 AM

    I would totally expect a lawyer to take the stand you are taking Florio. “But there are rules…” lol

    I agree. Enforce it or change it.

  12. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: May 1, 2012 11:01 AM

    Who cares….these guys are nothing more than training camp bodies….

  13. saintsfan82 says: May 1, 2012 11:01 AM

    If the saints were mentioned as one of the teams, their would be 100 posts from people saying that we’re cheaters and classless . It’s not the saints,so it’s no harm no foul , right?

  14. skolvikesskol says: May 1, 2012 11:06 AM

    In other news. DS Ping is out of the nfl agent business and back to pig farming. One client was quoted as saying “it weird, he said there was a lot of interest in me, then suddenly the phone stopped ringing”.

  15. nebster21 says: May 1, 2012 11:07 AM

    Basically if a team pisses of Goodell than he will enforce the penalty. Otherwise Goodell looks the other way. Redskins, Cowboys, Patriots, and Saints seem to know that. I think penalties should decided by a group. Much like a jury. Of course than Goodell would not have as much power and he would bankrupt the NFL or atleast try to.

  16. randolph32 says: May 1, 2012 11:15 AM

    Stupid rule, get rid of it…Here’s what could happen if they did, GBay has offered a contract after the draft, the Bears call the agent and he tells them the player is going to sign with the Pack…the Bears draft him in the 7th round, good for the player!

  17. geauxjay says: May 1, 2012 11:22 AM

    Maybe the NFL can collect 5000 pages of evidence on this, punish one team, and then refuse to share the evidence with ANYONE.

  18. buddybowl69 says: May 1, 2012 11:29 AM

    Teams routinely ignore the rules regarding undrafted players?

    Then take away a 1st round draft pick from the Redskins & Cowboys, and give them to the Giants courtesy of Mora. This policy would be for any team caught violating this rule, or better yet, for any infraction.

  19. jakek2 says: May 1, 2012 11:33 AM

    This is worse than Bounty Gate because it affects competitive balance! Negotiating with picks such as Mr. Irrelevant is tantamount to stealing an additional 7th rd pick. If I tell a potential pick that I’m not gonna draft you because I’m gonna you anyway as a UFA, why would I waste a 7th rd pick on him? This is what is happening!

  20. Jimbo says: May 1, 2012 11:35 AM

    Why doesn’t the league expand the draft by another round or 2? This would at least cut down on some of the ‘illegal’ offers being made to the more attractive Free Agents.

  21. geauxjay says: May 1, 2012 11:35 AM

    The NFL is closer to real life than most people know or want to admit.


    Not really. The Saints got busted for “speeding” and got sent to jail. And then when they asked why nobody else even got pulled over, the cop said “nobody else was speeding.” And then the next day they asked the same thing the cop said “everybody’s speeding but we can’t prove it” even though he has a radar gun in his hand.

  22. johnnyjagfan says: May 1, 2012 11:35 AM

    I’m certain Jacksonville doesn’t break this rule since we draft so many guys that would be on the FA market after the draft ends.

  23. trollhammer20 says: May 1, 2012 11:39 AM

    rexryanschoolofpodiatry says:May 1, 2012 11:01 AM

    Who cares….these guys are nothing more than training camp bodies….

    Victor Cruz and Doug Baldwin say “hi”.

  24. whodeydaytonchapter says: May 1, 2012 11:54 AM

    Roger should snag next years first round pick. It’s overboard, but it would send a message to all teams to follow the rules.

  25. xxwhodatxx says: May 1, 2012 12:02 PM

    “it makes those situations in which the league takes action seem more arbitrary and less fair.”

    Ya think?

  26. voxnovo says: May 1, 2012 12:55 PM

    Perhaps purpose of rule is to avoid situations such as the following:

    Team A drafts prospect in 7th round, but its contract offer, though consistent with league-wide practice for a 7th-rd. pick, is less lucrative than the offer another team made to sign the player as a UDFA in the event he went undrafted.

    Result: Prospects resents the team that drafted him and, after signing, puts forth less than a full effort to make that team.

    Prospect figures another team, perhaps the one that tendered its offer during the draft, will give him a better deal after his first team cuts him.

  27. theytukrjobs says: May 1, 2012 1:03 PM

    Is it against the rules to verbally throw numbers around with these players? Teams are permitted to talk to the players and work them out and interview them.

    Without an NFL response to this I’m inclined to believe that rules aren’t technically being broken by making verbal offers. Plus I’m not sure what advantage there is because agents prefer if their player is drafted so there isn’t an incentive to accepting an offer before the draft, thus lowering your clients chances of being drafted.

    To me an agent/player should always say “the only way to make sure you get me is to draft me before anyone else does”

  28. chawk12thman says: May 1, 2012 1:12 PM

    Verbal pre-offer doesn’t seem to be binding nor a violation. If the offer is in writing and expired before the draft ended, then I can see a problem, without a rule change.

    Change the rule……..It would make the last round much more interesting.

  29. chawk12thman says: May 1, 2012 1:19 PM

    johnnyjagfan says:
    May 1, 2012 11:35 AM
    I’m certain Jacksonville doesn’t break this rule since we draft so many guys that would be on the FA market after the draft ends.


    This is funny, I don’t care what team your a fan of……..

  30. chazzmichaelmichaels says: May 1, 2012 1:35 PM

    Moment of appreciation… At least we aren’t reading stories about where Brett Favre will play next.

  31. ktgooch says: May 1, 2012 2:57 PM

    I guess the Chargers championships will have * too!

  32. purplepridehasadownside says: May 1, 2012 3:51 PM

    That is IT, enough of this flagrant abuse of power by the Vikings. Punishment: Move to L.A. in 2013

  33. go9ers says: May 1, 2012 4:45 PM

    The 49ers lost a 5th round draft pick for tampering with Lance Briggs of the Bears. These accusations are for breaking a similar rule, and deserve similar punishment.

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