In some cases of tampering, the team victimized by comments from another franchise regarding a player under contract formally files tampering charges with the league office. In other cases, the team affected by tampering doesn’t.
Either way, the league can take action.
As it relates to Monday’s I-misspoke-when-I-tampered tampering case sparked by Jets owner Woody Johnson talking about his interest in a reunion with Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Patriots expect the league to investigate the situation (and impose sanctions) with or without a formal tampering complaint.
The Patriots, we’re told, believe their position was made clear on the matter through comments from coach Bill Belichick to WEEI radio in Boston.
“I would think that the league would look into those comments,” Belichick told WEEI, via Phil Perry of CSN New England. “I think that’s . . . I’m sure that’s something that they would look into.”
The comments become a problem because: (1) the Patriots need to renegotiate their contract with Revis by the middle of March, before his cap number shoots to $25 million under the second, phony year of his two-year contract; (2) Revis now has leverage in his discussions via the knowledge that the Jets want him back.
Making Johnson’s comments more confusing is the fact that, when Revis was available last year, Johnson didn’t want him back, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. So if Johnson doesn’t want Revis back, why would Johnson say he did?
It’s easy (and possibly helpful) to blame the guys who are no longer employed by the team for a decision that ultimately was made by the owner. Moreover, the comments may not have been about getting Revis back; they may have been about getting the Patriots to ultimately pay more to keep him.
Regardless of the motivation — or Johnson’s confusing I-didn’t-mean-to-say-what-I-said effort to undo the damage — it’s a textbook case of tampering. It’s so clear that the NFL should take action, regardless of whether Patriots owner Robert Kraft signs his name to a letter requesting that action be taken.