The Panthers are doing their best to escape the boiling pot.
“We didn’t have a deal in place with the player,” Panthers spokesman Steve Drummond told PFT via text message. “We had conversations like every other team.”
Conversations during the draft with players who may not be drafted are permitted. Financial terms can’t be discussed, however. Although it happens all the time, the league emphasized this point in a pre-draft memo sent to all teams.
The Saints claim that they traded back into round seven in order to disrupt the deal that the Panthers struck with Stevens to sign a contract as an undrafted free agent.
The league has declined comment on the situation. At least one league source has predicted that both teams will be punished. The reality remains that every team talks numbers with potential undrafted free agents, during every draft. Like pre-free agency tampering or fudging injury reports, everyone does it — and very few get whacked for it.