It’s time for the NFL to take draft picks from teams whose players get in trouble

Getty Images

In addressing the Tyreek Hill situation on Saturday, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt explained in very pragmatic terms the reality that any player acquisition entails “some element of risk.” When it comes to players like 2016 fifth-round draft pick Tyreek Hill, it’s time for the NFL to raise the stakes.

The only way for NFL to encourage teams to more prudently use current draft picks when considering players with off-field red flags will be to implement a system for seizing future draft picks, if that red flag becomes a full-blown storm.

More than four years ago, the league considered the possibility of taking draft picks from teams whose players violate the Personal Conduct Policy.

What level of accountability should be expected of clubs?” Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to the league’s owners in October 2014. “Is the current Salary Remittance Program sufficient, or should additional measures be considered?”

The Salary Remittance Program entails a system of fines for teams who have multiple players suspended in a given year. And the Salary Remittance Program doesn’t work, since it’s like a traffic ticket. Taking draft picks would be more like seizing the car.

“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 wrote in 2013, 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.”

When the Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill in round five three years ago, they did their due diligence (it apparently wasn’t good enough), and they ultimately engaged in a risk-reward analysis. Even if he never plays for them again, they got extensive value over three seasons for the investment made in 2016.

But what if the Chiefs knew when taking Hill that future trouble would cause them to lose one or more future picks? Would they have done a better job of studying him? Would they have been willing to roll the dice with a third-day pick? Would they have had an even greater incentive to ensure he gets whatever counseling, treatment, etc. that he needed in order to better manage anger?

If/when the NFL crosses this bridge, the challenge becomes setting the right penalty. The greater the penalty, the less likely teams will be to give players who have engaged in misconduct “second chances” instead of nurturing the first chances of the many players who do not get in trouble.

Of course, this could lead to an unintended consequence of making the Personal Conduct Policy even more political, given that competitive reasons beyond the unavailability of the player would infect the process. Regardless, it’s fair to expect NFL executives generating seven-figure salaries to balance all interests, to ensure that all procedures are properly followed, and ultimately to give teams a clear incentive to help players avoid making bad decisions, and a clear disincentive to assume the otherwise acceptable risk of investing a low-round pick on a high-round talent.

98 responses to “It’s time for the NFL to take draft picks from teams whose players get in trouble

  1. No.
    No.
    Just No.

    Such a proposition demonstrates a disregard for personal, individual responsibility and ethics.

    Next thing you know SOMEBODY will think something equally preposterous like, “Tyreek Hill doesn’t break 3 year old’s arms, the K.C. Chiefs break 3 year old’s arms.”

  2. Make penalties harsher and iron clad for the offenders, but taking draft picks away from teams is a profoundly stupid idea.

  3. You’ve lost a past draft pick when you lose the player. Better punishment make sure they take the full salary cap hit as if the player was still on the team.And donate that salary to charity that fits the reason said player was kicked out of NFL

  4. absolutely not. the loss and use of the draft pick of the in trouble player who is cut is the punishment

    the problem here is, the chiefs are still employing Hill.

    THAT is the issue. Cut and ban NOW and stop insulting NFL fans.

  5. Take away the pick that the player was chosen at.

    So in the Chiefs case, they drafted Hill in the 5th. So next year, they lose their 5th rounder.

  6. Cut and ban now reactions sound like the same thing that happened after the actor staged his hate crime. It’s ok to step back and make sound decisions in time rather than knee jerk within 2 days.

  7. Using Aaron Hernandez as an example, the Patriots would have had to forfeit the entire draft.

  8. I love this idea to really pressure teams to keep character guys, because the character focus would trickle down to even high school sports. However I think it would be impossible to get the League to approve a penalty this harsh.

  9. Hmm, why should the franchise be punished for the player’s actions? If you take that stance then the first ones in line for punishment should surely be the parents who raised him (something I don’t agree with). These are young adult men, capable of making their own decisions, be they right or wrong. They are the only ones who should suffer the consequences. And just what has an NFL executive’s seven figure salary got to do with any of this?

  10. NFLPA would never sign a CBA with that provision. Players already don’t like that the Commish impose player discipline.

  11. This is an unfair and dumb idea. Why punish everyone for the crimes of a small handful of malcontents.. Losing the services of a talented but troubled players is punishment enough, not mention the wasted draft pick on and money paid to the troubled player.

  12. Devil is in the details, but seems a sensible idea. If in place they may never have drafted a guy who punched and choked a pregnant woman. Read that sentence again, then imagine telling your boss that’s the candidate you want to hire. Practically any other business, not only does your boss not hire the person, he fires you for thinking it was a good idea.

    I think Hill has a right to try and defend himself now. Can’t imagine a reasonable explanation, but willing to listen before decide to ban him. This is the third time since 2012 Chiefs have a major problem with players commiting acts of violence against women. Different regime, but same owner. After a guy murders his wife and kills himself on your property in front of your employees because of marriage/ child issues, I’d think you have pretty amazing support services in place before ever even considering employing another player with violence vs women problems. Maybe the problem is Hunt and taking away picks is the best way to prevent him from harming the brand any further.

  13. This is one of the more ridiculous proposals I’ve heard. Make the penalties more harsh on the offending party, and if the offense is exceedingly egregious ban them from the league. How in the world could the team be held responsible for what someone else does, especially off the field issues?

  14. The only valid reasons to take a teams draft picks are that it is cold outside, or they stood 15 feet away from where they were supposed to be.

  15. What do the players get when the owners or executives get DUIs, or hit their wives, or cruise around blasted on pills? Do the players get a bonus?

  16. This is something that is the right sentiment, but the application is problematic. How do you define “trouble”?…..are there different levels of “trouble”?…..does a repeat offender from college have a larger penalty vs. a 1st time offender?…..etc…

  17. “It’s time for the NFL to take draft picks from teams whose players get in trouble”

    …or…

    It’s time for the CPS to take children from parents whose kids get in trouble BEFORE they become weapons of mass destruction playing college football.

    /rabble rabble

  18. No, it is stupid and contrary our approach to rehabilitation. Corp America has a similar problem. How do we expect people to get better if they dont get a chance. Penalizing teams for giving someone a chance is disgusting.

  19. Great way to insure those that need and would make the most of a second chance dont get one

  20. This situation effectively removes any “second chance” a person might need in order to prove they’ve changed. How many current players have had situations in the past they are ashamed of or wish they could take back, but are currently outstanding parts of their community and the team? No way that happens if they don’t even have the chance because billionaires aren’t going to risk the investment, plain and simple. Hill is obviously a piece of garbage, but his first incident happened before he was employed by the NFL, the second happened years later during the off-season, how the Chiefs as an organization are responsible for either is beyond me. Punishing them for it is too. Every single football team in America would be screwed across the board if the NFL started implementing this.

    Hill needs to be banned for life, but it needs to happen the correct way so that it can set a president going forward. That is going to need to happen literally at any other time then the biggest offseason weekend in the NFL. Show a little patience here, everyone.

  21. Permanent ban is sufficient! The teams are already permanently harmed. They’ll think twice before drafting these low lifes!

  22. Can somebody, anybody, explain to me why AP, who beat his defenseless kid bloody, is still allowed to play while everyone is calling for a lifetime ban for hill?

  23. the NFL cant even be consistent on punishments for players as it is, imagine if they started taking away picks? Roger throwing darts at the board trying to decide how many and what round they lose?

  24. Well then Patriots should never have a 1st round pick again because our owner supports human trafficking.

  25. That doesn’t make sense but what about this:

    If a player gets in trouble in a similar case of Tyreek Hill or Kareem Hunt, the team is obligated to cut them AND teams who sign that player are assuming the risk if after the players serves his suspension that if he gets in trouble again, the TEAM who signed him gets disciplined as well.

    I.E. the Browns would get disciplined if Hunt gets in trouble again while under contract.

    As of right now, there’s no risk for teams to sign these players after their original teams cut them because of off the field issues.

  26. No

    What needs to happen is the end of this practice where the team where the player gets in trouble plays has to suffer the PR nightmare, has to cut him to the detriment of the overall team. Then after suspension and the player fading from the headlines another team picks him up, gets barely any backlash, and gets to add quality to their team for dirt cheap

    Im a Browns fan, and even I recognize the ridiculousness of them getting Kareem Hunt for next to nothing when under normal circumstances he’d not be available.

    Either someone commits an act bad enough to be gone from the league forever or we need to accept teams holding on to players post-suspension

  27. It’s none of the NFL’s business to play judge and jury on their employees. If the police haven’t charged a guy with a crime, the league shouldn’t even say a word. Know what the repercussions for a team will be? When fans stop supporting the team because they have child abusers, murderers, or whatever on the roster. It’s a sticky mess they create when they deem who is moral enough to play in the NFL. Am I wrong? Everyone’s high on banning Tyreek Hill, but everyone’s forgotten about Adrian Peterson, and OJ’s still in the Hall of Fame. Reuben Foster’s going to play great for the Redskins this year, and Kareem Hunt will do the same in Cleveland. Want Altar boys? Go to church

  28. IF a player gets into serious trouble AND the team keeps him, or another unscrupulous team (Cleveland and Hunt) picks up that bad egg player THEN take picks away from them. OR the league can just do their job and suspend them for so many games that they are no longer viable.

  29. America already has police and a judicial system. If a player is in jail, he can’t play. Otherwise, he should play. It makes no sense to create un-American kangaroo courts mirroring the universities where you are guilty until…no, actually you’re just guilty, because accusations are enough.

  30. I don’t know what the answer is but the NFL needs to send a strong message that behavior like Hunt and Hill displayed will NOT be tolerated any more. I think the first offense should be a one-year suspension but I don’t know if even that is enough for what Hill did. This may not even be an issue since he faces the real possibility of a prison sentence. As far as I’m concerned, Hill could never play in the NFL again and wouldn’t be missed. You just can’t un-hear that audio. It’s shocking.

    I do like the idea one poster suggested in that they could dock the team that player’s salary from the salary cap. However, that’s not much of a punishment since both of those guys were on their rookie deals so that’s not any deterrent. Maybe they could do something like take away training camp days and instead have them conduct seminars which explains why certain behavior is totally unacceptable.

  31. Another option could be for the team to lose that roster spot. Roster spots are precious and if they choose to sign a player that could eventually cost them a roster spot maybe they’d finally think twice.

  32. Dorsey drafted both Hunt and Hill. Suspend him. He’s doing the same thing with Cleveland.

  33. That’s a great idea from someone who makes a living working in the media and knowing how well controversy helps his industry. I just don’t think anyone who doesn’t work in the media will think it’s a good idea. It’s a good idea in theory, but we know better than to think there’s a clear cut definition of “getting in trouble”, and also determining what the penalty should be. I’ve always thought the best thing to do was divide the TV revenue based on wins and losses. That would put the onus on the owners to hire good GM’s, or get out of the business. Good GM’s steer clear of bad character guys anyway.

  34. Why punish a team for a players actions ? GMs dont know if the player is gonna screw up.

  35. It’s foolish to even think of taking draft picks away. What happens to the college kid who might go high in the draft and then is dropped down through no fault of his own?!!!

  36. Bad idea but teams like KC who repeatedly draft and sign questionable players should rightfully be scrutinized and that includes general managers, coaches, and owners.

  37. We all make mistakes as young people. Everyone. Its impossible to predict which people when given the chance to turn their lives around will do so, and who will not. You cannot take draft picks from teams over this.

    If there is some player that has engaged in behavior the league finds unacceptable in college, they have to ban the player from being drafted. These guys are enabled all through high school and college. And the NFL doesn’t really want to discipline them once they get to the league. Banning a player like Hill from being drafted would have prevented the entire mess

  38. If you’ve got previous violent crime in your history, and get into violent crime trouble again, the team forfeits the original pick in the subsequent draft.
    If a team signs a player that has a violent crime history that gets into violent crime trouble again, they forfeit their first pick in the subsequent draft.
    This adequately forces the member clubs to vet their people, and forces the league to take appropriate action against violent crime. I keep using those words, because I don’t believe for a second that anyone should be punished by the league for traffic tickets, marijuana, etc.

  39. It is a privilege and not a right to play in the NFL. The league should screen all players eligible to enter the league and screen out the ones that do not meet the standards that are set. It will never work if it is left up to the individual owners.

  40. Good rule IF getting in trouble is defined as “convicted of a crime” and applies to the players, coaching staff, and team executives alike. Anything else is too subjective.

  41. Maybe instead of docking the team that signed him initially, you take a first round draft pick from the team that opts to sign following a team release for commissioner’s suspension or list infraction. Both Hunt and Hill were Dorsey’s guys but he benefited from hunts bad behavior.

  42. The only way you take Draft Picks away from teams, is if the Team, who’s player committed the offense, is unwilling to suspend or cut the said player. Its not the team’s fault if they get in trouble, but it is if they don’t rid themselves of the distraction and bad influence.

  43. The NFL should deny the players the right to enter the draft in the first place That way the fans of the team aren’t punished by their team losing draft picks

  44. There’s zero chance of a club being exposed to any punishment as what you do on your own time outside of work is nothing to do with your boss and therefore nothing to do with his boss.

    If you don’t want that kid a part of your team then get shot of him but as for blaming and then punishing the team that’s comical.

  45. Maybe suspend the guy who drafted the player and that would have a greater impact. John Dorsey out the league for a year or two.
    Maybe suspend Goodell for allowing him to be drafted would be even better.

  46. Why doesn’t the NFL create their own deputies with NFL shield badges to take these criminals (who aren’t guilty of any crimes in a court of law) into custody once an accusation is made? Each team can have their own temporary jailhouse attached to the facility, and once the accused is found legally innocent, they can be transferred from there to the league prison in New York until such time as Roger feels like granting clemency.

  47. Instead of flat fine amounts, the league should charge a percentage of the player’s salary. The big contract guys could care less about a $10,000 fine, but make it $250,000 and maybe, you’ll correct the action.

  48. I disagree, I think a player should be punished not the team.
    Have the player be banned for a few years…teams now are cutting players (Chiefs, 49ers) but other teams are signing them so really no penalty…make it so they can’t be resigned for a year or two…or forever depending on the situation…wan’t Hornung banned for a YEAR for gambling?

  49. Lifetime bans worked for Baseball and they would work for any profession. What is needed is a “Zero Tolerance” policy.
    As for potential draftees, any player with a Felony record cannot play in the nfl; and, any player with a criminal record cannot be signed unless he attends a mandatory rehab program operated and monitored by the league. Again, zero tolerance for missed meetings and / or subsequent charges.
    Tough? Yes; but tough is needed because the league currently is supporting too many criminals to the detriment of fans, potential teammates, and the league.

  50. And where do you draw the line? If a player gets a speeding ticket should the team lose a draft pick over that? Sometimes a team will give a player a 2nd chance, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. How come we didn’t hear all this about Josh Gordon and Johnny football with all their issues? The Kansas City Chiefs will do the right thing!

  51. Yorkville11,
    You state a zero tolerance policy, I work for the US government where we have a zero tolerance policy, how well do you think that works? It doesn’t. I do understand where you are coming from tho.

  52. I think the player needs to be suspended first and foremost, and if he is cut and has a personal conduct record, another team should have to forfeit a pick to sign him. The Chiefs and 49ers did the right thing by cutting Foster and Hunt, but the teams who signed these players to cheap contracts with no risk should face reprocussions. Sadly, at this point if I ran a team, I’d keep the guy until the NFL gets rid of him because I don’t want another team having success with him.

  53. I appreciate what is being said, but I disagree with the approach. If the NFL doesn’t ever want the possibility for these type of players and situations to be in the league, then just have a standard/rule in place and an intentional vetting process upfront and ban them from the beginning. That way those interested in seeking a career in the NFL have an incentive to conduct themselves appropriately way before they ever enter the league. If they want the opportunity to make millions, then they would know upfront the standard that is expected and when these types of people conduct themselves in opposition to the standard, then they are making their choice upfront about how seriously committed they are about receiving an opportunity to play in the NFL. And with such an upfront standard, there may be exceptions to the rules to take in consideration age and situation that lead to the behavior. Otherwise, if the league were to take the stance of letting teams take the risks and then penalize the team draft picks in the future, the league never solves the problem because there will always be a team that will be willing to take the risk to obtain a competitive advantage. Also, having a rule that takes draft picks away from teams is bad for business and bad for the fans. As a fan, I am so tired of seeing players and teams being fined or penalized. I understand certain situations call for it, but it has become WAY to common place in the NFL.

  54. Any player that has documented history of violence against women or children in any regard should not be allowed to join the NFL period. This is the only way they will be able to discourage young upcoming players to keep clean. All 32 NFL teams should have to cast a majority vote for any player being considered for a second chance prior to being drafted or signed.

  55. This is too far. The teams cannot control players’ behavior outside of their facility. They get enough PR backlash and the loss of the player, draft pick, and possible cap implications.

  56. No… it is time the NFL started to compensate teams whose players are cut immediately after falling foul of the law. The Chiefs are getting criticised for not immediately cutting Hill, yet teams who give such players “second chances” – Browns (Hunt) and Redskins (Foster) – gain talent after a possible NFL suspension, with little to no criticism at all. Perhaps teams who immediately part ways with problematic players should be rewarded with a compensation draft pick – especially if that player signs on with another team within say six months of being cut.

  57. Nope. Let the free market economy do its thing.

    If the fan base doesn’t care, that’s on then….

    …..like weed. If you can stay high and still go to the pro bowl….good for you.

    …..if you stay high and get cut for showing up late/poor performance….the free market will identify you and act accordingly

  58. What an utterly stupid idea. These players are grown men. The team isn’t any more responsible for their actions than their parents are. Besides, they are athletes who are paid to play a kid’s game not role models for a hypocritical society. Let’s try holding our elected officials to a higher standard of behavior first.

  59. What if your draft pick gets shot in the boo tay on draft night? Is that “getting in trouble”? What do you lose for that?

  60. Simply unworkable. It would make it subjective, and it would never be administered fairly.

  61. I have a great idea and I am willing to bet that other fans will overwhelmingly agree with me — when any NFL player, coach, or owner gets in trouble, suspend Commissioner Roger Goodell.
    That would solve about 90% of the problems in the NFL.

  62. While this sounds good at first, we have to consider what fallout this will have with teams protecting themselves from risky players. Since the team will now be responsible for the players’ off field behavior, the kind of limitations that will be built into new contracts will severely limit the freedom of the players. How many teams do you think will let their players go to nightclubs or bars in their off time if they could lose a first or second round pick for a player getting into a fight?

    The players already are under a spotlight that makes otherwise reasonable actions off limits as it stands. What I mean by that is that certain actions which be on the table for any one of us (say, defending yourself in a physical altercation) are the kinds of things that the NFL looks into, and the circumstances often result in punishment more than the players’ individual actions do. Tyreek Hill, for instance, may not have even been the one to actually break his son’s arm, even if there is strong evidence that he mistreated or physically abused the boy in other circumstances which we suspect but cannot definitely prove. While he himself isn’t somebody we’re going to shed tears for, the ability of the NFL to punish players without evidence will make teams much more wary and cautious about protecting their picks.

    A question also arises regarding spouse/significant other behavior. Hill’s wife, for example, was also accused by Hill on her tape of doing some questionable things to the boy. Would the Chiefs bear responsibility for her as well as Hill? The situation with Miko Grimes, Brent Grimes’ wife, also comes to mind. Would the Dolphins have been responsible for her behavior towards the fans that led to her being ejected from the stadium? Taking picks is a good idea when it can be proven that the team was negligent in some way in ignoring or enabling the individual’s behavior, but the side effects are too numerous in my mind to endorse the idea.

  63. Great idea… but if this was the case the Ravens & Patriots would not be able to draft for 4 to 5 years. NFL doesn’t care about what the players or organizations do, they put band aids on major wounds to safe face. The Patriots have been CAUGHT cheating twice and are regarded as the best franchise in the world by the NFL. The Ravens have employed the worst of the worst players. The NFL should disband teams like these and then not allow that city to ever have a franchise again. Then maybe the fans would realize the NFL stands for something.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!