The punishment imposed on the Chiefs for violating the rules of the 2015 tampering period came from an allegation that Chiefs employees had direct contact with receiver Jeremy Maclin during the pre-free agency window that allows communication only with agents who represent impending free agents. The league’s decision to publish the punishment after the 2016 tampering period ended gives rise to the possibility that other teams had impermissible communications with other impending free agents this year.
The most obvious dot-connecting arises from coaches who have changed teams during the 2016 hiring cycle and their former players. In lieu of attempting to make a list of the possible culprits, and in turn being viewed as implicitly suggesting that something improper happened, we’ll let the audience connect the fairly obvious dots on its own.
Here’s one that we already mentioned on Twitter: Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who was employed by the Chiefs when the conversations occurred a year ago with Maclin, has signed former Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel. At the Scouting Combine, Pederson made comments about Daniel that some have argued constitute minor, yet obvious, violations of the tampering rules.
If Pederson and Daniel were in contact during the tampering period, the Eagles did the same thing to the Chiefs this year that the Chiefs allegedly did to the Eagles last year. If the punishment imposed on the Chiefs had been announced before the start of this year’s legal tampering period, Pederson would have been on unmistakable notice to avoid talking to Daniel.
There’s a chance Pederson already knew about last year’s issues arising from direct communications between the Chiefs and Maclin. Then again, if Pederson had been sensitive to the issue during the Scouting Combine, he arguably would have said nothing at all publicly about Daniel.