The recent tampering investigation that resulted in a negotiated settlement between the Cardinals and Eagles could tempt other teams to try to weaponize the tampering policy. The owner of the Colts could be trying to do just that.
Tucked into an item from John Keim of ESPN.com regarding the Commanders’ current faith in quarterback Sam Howell was a juicy piece of news regarding the team’s wide-net effort to find a new starting quarterback in 2022. Here’s the key quote: “Even so, they didn’t feel the same urgency they did last offseason, when they called every team that might have a quarterback available. They even phoned about retired Andrew Luck, just in case.”
When writing it up last night, I gave the Commanders the benefit of the doubt, assuming they had asked the Colts about Luck, without going to Luck directly. Eleven minutes after our story was posted and tweeted, Colts owner Jim Irsay said this, on Twitter: “If any NFL Team, attempted to contact Andrew Luck (or any associate of him)… to play for their Franchise – it would be a clear Violation of the League’s Tampering Policy.”
This implies that Irsay believes the Commanders didn’t ask the Colts about Luck and that, if the Commanders did indeed explore the possibility of Luck coming from retirement, they went to Luck or to his agents or to some other associate of Luck, such as his well-known father, Oliver.
Where it goes from here remains to be seen. The unprecedented decision of the league to allow the Cardinals and Eagles to work out a clear tampering violation among themselves in a way that gave Philly enhanced standing in the 2023 draft creates an incentive for other teams to try to do the same thing.
If, after all, a simple phone call by the Cardinals to Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon that clearly violated the tampering policy resulted in a major round-three upgrade for the Eagles, why wouldn’t another team that believes it was on the wrong end of a similar violation cry foul?
That’s the downside of the NFL’s effort to brush the Gannon tampering situation under the rug. Other teams will seize upon the precedent, if/when they believe they can improve their haul of picks in an upcoming draft.
Will Irsay file a tampering claim against the Commanders? Will the league investigate?
Tune in roughly five minutes before the next draft begins, apparently, to find out.