When it comes to talking about players under contract with other teams, the league’s rules are pretty clear: Don’t do it.
That’s why it was surprising to hear Jets owner Woody Johnson admit that his team has interest in Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson.
“We’re looking at a number of players, including DeSean,” Johnson said Sunday, also explaining that the Jets would be interested in Jackson only “at the right price” and that he would have to fit into the culture of the team’s locker room.
Johnson’s comments could be enough to result in a finding of tampering. “Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation,” the league’s tampering policy states.
The NFL rarely enforces its tampering rules, in part because it’s usually difficult if not impossible to prove a violation. But the league sometimes acts when the violation is blatant and easily proven.
For any NFL team, the safest course is to never say anything at all about a player under contract with another team. At a minimum, no team should ever admit having interest in a player under contract with another team, no matter how clear it may be that the other team no longer has interest in its own player.