The Saints traded into the seventh round of this year’s draft in order to select former Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens and Saints head coach Sean Payton said later that he made the move in order to keep Stevens from going to the Panthers as an undrafted free agent.
According to Payton, the Panthers and Stevens had agreed to a deal before the draft is over. That’s prohibited as teams can speak to players, but NFL rules preclude them from discussing financial matters or entering into an agreement.
The Panthers denied the allegation shortly after the draft and General Manager Marty Hurney did so again in an interview with Joseph Person of TheAthletic.com. Hurney wouldn’t say whether the NFL has contacted the team, but that they did “nothing out of bounds.”
“That’s not — what we did is we did have several conversations with Tommy before the draft,” Hurney said. “He had history with [Panthers offensive coordinator] Joe Brady [at Penn State]. We thought that if we didn’t have a chance to draft him that he was one of the guys on our list. But it didn’t go any further than that.”