It’s an idea we’ve been pushing for years. And despite our open support, the owners may end up doing it anyway.
Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that last week’s ownership meetings included a discussion of the possibility of stripping draft picks from teams with players who have multiple incidents under the personal conduct policy. Currently, teams surrender a portion of a suspended player’s salary to the league for multiple suspensions in the same year.
“What level of accountability should be expected of clubs?” Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo to owners before the meetings. “Is the current Salary Remittance Program sufficient, or should additional measures be considered?”
Taking draft picks definitely should be considered, because it would give teams a strong incentive not to take chances on players who have a history of off-field misconduct. For NFL teams, there’s no stronger incentive than taking away their ability to pick potential Hall of Fame players in each and every round of the draft.
“Nothing else will work, because there always will be an owner, a G.M., or a coach who won’t be able to resist the upside,” we said after Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder. “Make the downside more significant, and teams will start doing a much better job of avoiding troubled players — and of keeping all of their players out of trouble.”
If it happens, it will become even more important for the NFL to handle all investigations regarding off-field allegations. Teams already are tainted by the desire to keep a good player on the field. Putting draft picks in play would give teams even more reason to look the other way.