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.

33 responses to “Teams routinely ignore the rules regarding undrafted players

  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Yawn. No harm, no foul.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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?

  10. 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”.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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”.

  20. 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.

  21. 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”

  22. 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.

  23. 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……..

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

  25. 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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