Eagles say deal with Shepard was made only after the draft

AP

After former LSU receiver Russell Shepard went undrafted, he said he was OK with that because he signed with the Eagles during the draft. One problem: If the Eagles agreed to a contract with Shepard during the draft, they were breaking league rules.

So it’s no surprise that the Eagles say that’s not how it happened.

“Russell Shepard has not signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles,” the team said in a statement to PFT. “However, we did come to terms on a contract with he and his agent after the draft was completed. We anticipate he, like all of the rookie free agents we have agreed to terms with, will take a physical examination upon arriving in Philadelphia prior to next week’s rookie mini-camp and then sign a contract.”

Shepard has specifically stated, both in a radio interview and on Twitter, that he agreed to join the Eagles before the draft was even over, and it’s hard to see why he would make something like that up. The reality is Shepard described a common occurrence and just didn’t know he was describing something against the rules because teams break that rule all the time.

For the 2014 NFL draft, the league might consider changing that rule. Or else teams will tell players to keep quiet about hush-hush deals.

33 responses to “Eagles say deal with Shepard was made only after the draft

  1. Looks like he will be one of the first cuts. First rule of the NFL, don’t talk about the NFL

  2. I would be willing to bet the Eagles contacted him during the draft. I would bet most if not all teams contact players and it would not be a stretch that the basic framework is initially discussed. Other than, we’re interested what else is there to discuss?

    But his story never made sense. It always seemed like a kid that didn’t get drafted wanting to seem like he controlled the reason he wasn’t drafted.

    I don’t see how the interviewer doesn’t dig deeper to find out exactly what happened.

  3. Let this story go. The kid was UDFA and this could possibly ruin his chances with Eagles or other teams if he doesn’t stick with them. I know your going after the NFL and the rules but think about the ramifications on the kids career for making a mistake cuz he obviously didn’t know the rules.

  4. It is not really hard to believe that Sheppard would make something like this up. It is hard to believe why he go public with it. For his entire pro career, every team he does business with will be thinking he might blab something. Smart move, Einstein!

  5. Chip’s right.. dumb people do dumb things. Teams commonly contact players before the draft is over to see is they would be interested in signing as an RFA in the event the draft ends without their name coming off the board. The Eagles are no different than anyone else, but that kid must be dumber than a bag of rocks. Chip should tell him to delete his twitter account and decline interviews so he won’t say anything else that’s stupid.

  6. The old “everybody does it” excuse is not a valid excuse. Agreeing to terms before the conclusion of the draft is against the rules. I suspect that while it may not be unheard of, some teams use these tactics more than others. Therefore, when the facts present themselves that someone cheats, it should be reviewed and consequences should be brought to bear.

  7. Pretty much all teams call up UDFA’s they want to sign during the last couple rounds of the draft, and say something like “Listen, we’d love to draft you, but we don’t think we’ll be able to. But even if we can’t, we think [name of team] would be an outstanding situation for you…” and try to get their commitment. It’s not surprising that some kid might consider that taking himself “off the draft board”, or of “signing” with that team.

    When the other teams called before the draft was over and found out he had “signed”, they were only trying to do the same thing.

  8. I do not believe that the Eagles “came to terms” until after the draft. All they did was convince the player that the Eagles were the best situation for him, but when you say “came to terms” that implies that contract terms were discussed. And that’s what it would take for it to be a rule violation.

  9. When Chip fails in the NFL and goes back to college, he’d be a perfect match for the SEC. In the SEC, cheating, paying players and recruits, not expecting them to do pesky things like get an education, covering up for criminal acts, etc is expected in order to win.

  10. Agreeing to terms is NOT against the rules. SIGNING a player to a contract is. A verbal agreement is not a legally binding contract. He has still yet to sign a contract so there’s no way they broke any rules. Pay attention to the details people.

  11. Conspiracy theorists. He didn’t sign with the Eagles and he still hasn’t to this day. Why would the Eagles offer a contract to someone they haven’t even met with or taken a physical?

    Agents tell their clients all the time that they are better off undrafted than going in the 7th round so they have a CHOICE of teams..

    What better way to keep yourself undrafted when you start fielding calls in the 6th-7th round than to say “I have already accepted another offer”

  12. forget cutting about making him the first or last cut bring him to philly make him take a physical, have a press conference where he retracts his statement then send him home saying he failed the physical so he wont be signed.

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