NFL should change rules of legal tampering period, rescind punishment of Chiefs

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Last year, after the NFL targeted the Patriots for aggressive investigation and discipline over #Deflategate, Patriots fans mobilized, digging up (and passing along) every instance of actual or potential cheating that was either punished less harshly or never even addressed.

This year, with the Chiefs absorbing extreme consequences for having direct contact not only with receiver Jeremy Maclin’s agent (which is allowed) but with Maclin directly (which isn’t) during the 2015 legal tampering window, their fans have not responded with the same zeal and volume over a technical violation that most if not all teams surely have committed in the several years since the NFL first adopted a pre-free agency window for talking to the agents of impending free agents.

Because the NFL didn’t announce the sanctions against the Chiefs until after this year’s legal tampering period closed, it’s possible (if not likely) that other teams did the same thing last Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday before the market opened at 4:00 p.m. ET. Consider, for example, the following exchange during Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler’s introductory press conference on Thursday.

Question: “There were reports that you hadn’t talked to anyone in Denver, you weren’t answering people’s phone calls for a couple of weeks, is that not true?”

Answer: “It wasn’t a couple weeks, there was an offer on the table for a small period of time. With this being my first time going through free agency, you follow your agency’s advice. So I was just following their lead, however when it did come time to make decisions, I did talk with Denver as well as Houston and we were able to get this deal done.”

The last line is the most important one. Based on the various reports that emerged within an hour or so before the market officially opened, Osweiler made his decision before 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Which means that Osweiler spoke to “Denver as well as Houston” before making a decision that was made before 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Which means that the Texans apparently violated the same rule the Chiefs violated a year ago.

The goal here isn’t to get the Texans in trouble. The goal is to expose the inconsistency in the application of the rules, along with the hypertechnical folly of allowing agents to talk to teams during the legal tampering period but not allowing players to talk to teams.

Some believe that the NFL is trying to push the process toward a college football-style signing day, with players throughout the country announcing their decisions in an organized and orchestrated way. Whatever the purpose and however it evolves, why not allow the players to get on the phone with the coach or the G.M. or the owner or anyone during the negotiating window?

The idea of players making long-term commitments without ever setting foot in his new place of employment or even meeting his new employer and future supervisors is odd enough. Preventing any communication at all is even more bizarre, especially since the league now allows the talks during the legal tampering period to result in an agreement that, while not legally binding, is treated as certain by the teams and agents involved.

So instead of investigating the Texans or anyone else, the league should rescind the punishment of the Chiefs and revise the rules to allow players to talk to teams during the period that their agents are talking to teams, too.

47 responses to “NFL should change rules of legal tampering period, rescind punishment of Chiefs

  1. Since Roger the dodger took over, when has there been any consistency coming from Park Ave?

  2. That suggestion makes too much sense to get acted upon by Goodell. Pride gets in the way of doing the correct, equitable thing.

  3. Agree. Any leader/league needs to be fair – and exercise proper judgement and temperament. Rog & friends are 0-3.

    As for tampering, the Jets are exhibit A on a light tampering penalty – hmm, wonder which team Roger & fiends worked for – and the Chiefs are exhibit b for a heavy one. I also wonder why the team “damaged” does not get some form of compensation from the league or offending team (i.e., in addition to compensatory picks).

  4. Rules are rules. Perhaps the league didnt come down hard enough on the Chiefs to deter future rule breaking. In Florio’s house when his kids dont play by the rules, he changes them.

  5. Completely agree. It’s quite obvious that the majority of teams break the rules every year. To punish one is just restarted.

    Gotta give credit to the Chiefs brass though. Didn’t whine, didn’t destroy evidence, etc. Took it like a class act and moved on.

  6. Just another example of the double standards of Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League

    Goodell is VILE

    Goodell must go

  7. The Redskins and Cowboys got punished far worse for a rule that was not in place, and in fact was illegal. The NFL is a private company they can dish out punishment however they see fit. Even if it’s wrong!

  8. Forget tampering. They should first change the rules
    and punishments on weed use. Way too harsh and doesn’t
    enhance performance.

  9. The concept of the “league year” makes everything way more confusing than it should be. Just do what MLB does where they allow unrestricted free agents to file as soon as the World Series is over and then there’s no issue.

  10. While we’re at it, give New England back it’s picks, the million dollars, uphold Judge Berman’s ruling and FIRE Goodell. That is all.

  11. The punishment handed down to KC is a heaping load of BS. It’s proportionately more severe than what was given the Broncos for subverting the salary cap for two years! Denver cheated the whole league when they illegally paid Elway and Davis. At most the Chiefs hurt Philly, although any real damage to them is questionable since the Chiefs had already been negotiating a contract with Maclin’s agent.

  12. Given it’s timing the punishment was useless as a deterrent in addition to being excessive as well as inconsistently and selectively applied. Before there was even something as lenient as a legal tampering period the Niners tampered with Briggs and only lost a 5th and had to swap 3rds. Once again 345 Park Ave shows that it’s not how things are that matter but rather how they appear. Heavy tampering punishment ’cause integrity! But in the meantime they steal over $100M from the shared revenue pool.

  13. The idea of making it like MLB sounds good but the realities of setting the salary cap, RFA tenders and franchise/transition tags along with 20 teams getting a head start on knowing they would have no cap related expenses from any playoff related incentives would make that exceedingly difficult. That said the excessive month long waiting period invites tampering and a middle ground between the two shouldn’t be that hard to strike.

  14. What I’d like to know is why the Chiefs were penalized those draft picks but the Eagles don’t GET those picks as compensation for their player being tampered with.

  15. Seems to me that if the teams & players want to speak before making a major commitment to join a new club, they would have the opportunity, however, that would be after the league year begins. Contracts being signed the moment the clock strikes midnight certainly confirms the pre-new year tampering. The NFL is a hypocritical animal & we all know it. They continue to baffle w there decision making & punishment doling out manner & methods.

  16. It’s funny, when there weren’t cap rules, the NFL hammered Dallas and the REDSKINS for operating as if there weren’t cap rules… Fans of those teams were, rightfully, upset about the idea that their teams were being punished for playing within the boundaries given to them. Now the Chiefs break the rules last year and because Houston appears to have this year, the NFL should recind the punishment? That is complete and utter garbage. So it’s cool to do the time without committing the crime, but it isn’t okay to do the time, when you commit the crime?..
    How about this, the Chiefs keep their punishment for last off season’s infraction and the Texans get that same punishment next year at this time?

  17. This is the era of Roger Goodell’s NFL. Good luck hoping for some rhyme and reason in the way he runs it.

  18. The NFL is 100% correct to pursue this, you have to draw the line somewhere in order to protect teams from having their players poached, and if teams cross that line there needs to be consequences.

  19. Green blitz
    It’s fine to have rules and fine to ensure the rules are abided by
    The issue is how the penalties are imposed in such wide varying degree based on the whim of me integrity and protector of the shield
    That’s the issue

  20. NFL integrity = be lazy and inconsistent with your own policies, then occasionally make an example of someone, then go back to being lazy and inconsistent.

  21. The rules are the rules…period. And every time the rules are broken, then the responsible party should be handed the harshest punishment possible. The argument “everyone is doing it” sounds like the argument given by someone who just robbed a business in the middle of a mob (which is ironically similar because that’s exactly what they are doing). The fact that only a few get caught is the very reason the punishmnet should be so harsh…to cause those perpetrating the act to give pause to the potential consequences, in the hopes that the thought process transforms from “everyone does it” to “nobody does it”.

    The rules should stay the same & KC should sit back & be glad it’s not worse.

  22. Why doesn’t the NFL just stop with the “legal tampering period. What’s the big deal that the players can’t wait 3 more days. The NFL creates stupid rules that becoming too tempting and it seems to me that the agent can talk to their client so no one got hurt in the Maclin case. The punishment for the chiefs is ridiculous compared to the punishement the Jets got for tampering with Revis last year.

  23. steves11 says:
    Mar 12, 2016 4:50 PM
    What I’d like to know is why the Chiefs were penalized those draft picks but the Eagles don’t GET those picks as compensation for their player being tampered with.
    Because said player was a free agent. He was no longer THEIR player.

    Contrast that to the Jets a year ago making blatant public comments about Darrelle Revis who was still UNDER CONTRACT to the Patriots, and they only got a fine.

  24. At this point, I say screw it. I want the irrational punishment wheel to keep spinning, because after deflategate, I want the rest of the league to reap what they sowed.

  25. Rules are rules..i have no a cowboys fan the cowboys and redskins were penalised my roger goodell for overvspending during an uncapped year..uncapped means no cap..yet these 2 teams were whatever happens to anyother team is all good with me..i hope every team gets some kind of penalty for something stupid..atleast we got 5 rings..most u losers have none

  26. Sounds like you could be standing in the same room as your agent and if you need clarification on some detail that was said, your agent would need to cover the phone, hear your question, ask the party on the other end of the line and get an answer. That sounds really lame.

  27. You can’t really punish everybody if everybody is doing it, especially losing draft picks because eventually you’ll have a round with only a couple-three picks. Then we move to the next round.
    The real punishment is coughing up lots of dollars as fines. That will do more than losing a pick if enough teams are hit. In fact, the teams might like that because if most teams aren’t drafting in a round, you can get a 2nd round guy in the third and pay him a lot less under the slotting system. It’ll be like trading out of the round, except you got a tampered player and not a pick. The UDFA pool will also be better.

  28. Nobody gave a damn when the NFL gang raped the Saints and have yet to produce a single play showing any intentional harming of a player…Goodell is a jerk.
    I have no sympathy for any team getting the shaft by Goodell, we tried to warn you but you wouldn’t listen, it is only a matter of time before Goodell screws up YOUR team too.

  29. What ever the league was trying to accomplish this year, it appears to me to have been a total joke, with multiple deals being reported and verified before the official date and time.

  30. This whole tampering nonsense is bewildering to me. If players are on a contract year they should have the right to hear any offers that are out there period.

    This case is another prime example of the lack of integrity of Goodell and his chumps, not of the Chiefs or anyone one else involved.

    suggahbuggah. You’re absolutely right, I only saw the light when my Pats were screwed over pseudo puffs of air let out of a football. But it did make me look back at the public info available on the Saints case and even Incognito’s case and realize the amount of conjecture and bias present in both cases on part of the league.

    Goodell and his chumps are destroying this game and they will be held accountable!!!

  31. So there are times when you can talk to a player’s agent but not a player – does the league not know what an agent does?

  32. The number 1 problem here is that all the teams that SEEM to be breaking the rules are not all getting punished the same. If they were, I think everyone would be a lot more kosher with the idea. Even though some of the reasons for being punished seem pretty petty.
    And for the poster that wants to protect his teams players from being “poached” from other teams, sorry, this is called “Free agency” Your idea went out the window in a Minneapolis Court room in 1993.

  33. One reason Eagles shouldn’t get the pick is because this year they hired their coach from the Chiefs before the season was over. Then their new coach ( Pedersen ) talked to Chase Daniel every day at practice. He had no choice, but still tampering.

  34. Thinking about this whole chiefs tampering with eagles players.. why did this penalty come so late? A year later???
    Not to mention, what is the rule when it comes to hiring a coach while the team is still in the playoffs? (aka the eagles hired the chiefs offensive coordinator the week that they played the patriots). Is that “legal tampering”?

  35. Is all of this stupid or what? You can legally do something illegal up to a point in time and then it’s legal to do what was illegal afterwards. AND…they take away draft picks for not understanding this?

  36. The funny part about the Patriots fans “mobilizing” as you put it is that their “look everyone does it” derfense didn’t change the fact that they cheated.
    They just don’t get that part.

  37. The funny part about the Patriots fans “mobilizing” as you put it is that their “look everyone does it” derfense didn’t change the fact that they cheated.
    They just don’t get that part.
    I’m pretty sure that the overwhelming belief among Patriots supporters in the ongoing Framegate saga is that NE didn’t do it rather than that everyone does it.

    More proof that trolls aren’t big on the truth. But, hey, you wrote it.

    I’d ask that you bring some facts/truth to the discussion but the next time you do will be the first. So, not expecting much.

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