Report: Commanders unlikely to face punishment for Andrew Luck tampering

Indianapolis Colts v Los Angeles Chargers
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The best way to avoid the consequences of an unfortunate new precedent is to ignore the existence of the precedent.

That’s what the NFL might be doing, given the possibility that the Commanders made contact with retired Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in 2022, at a time when the Commanders were searching high and low for a new starter.

The Washington Post reports that the Commanders are “unlikely” to face punishment for tampering with Luck. The report explains that “there probably is ‘not enough hard evidence’ of impermissible contact” for a penalty to be imposed.

Here’s the question: What was done to look for evidence, hard or otherwise? The Post continues to treat as dispositive its own report that someone from Luck’s camp said the Commanders did not contact Luck, his father Oliver, or his agent. That denial hardly ends it; Luck, who has walked away from the game, surely has no interest in getting involved.

It wouldn’t be difficult to properly investigate this, if the NFL wanted to do so. Either the Commanders directly contacted the Colts about Luck, or the Commanders didn’t. If they didn’t directly contact the Colts, there’s a chance the Commanders contacted Luck or some intermediary.

A proper investigation would not be difficult to design. The Commanders would be directed to surrender text messages, emails, and/or phone records from executives, coaches, and scouts during the period of, for example, November 1, 2021 through the date on which the Commanders traded for Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. The information would then be reviewed carefully for any indication of an effort to explore whether Luck would be interested in returning to play.

The league could do this, if the league wanted to do it. Chances are the league doesn’t want to do it.

Per the report, the issue probably is “going to fade away.” That’s right, because that’s what the league apparently wants.

The league shouldn’t be surprised that the Colts demanded an investigation after ESPN reported that the Commanders “even phoned the retired Andrew Luck” while searching for a quarterback in early 2022. Given the resolution of the Jonathan Gannon tampering situation, which involved the unprecedented move of allowing the two involved teams to negotiate draft-pick compensation to settle things, any team that believes it has been the victim of tampering should demand an investigation in the hopes of a similar strategic edge.

By apparently looking the other way and hoping that this one is “going to fade away,” the league kills this new precedent before it can become one. Even if it’s entirely possible that the Commanders did indeed contact Luck or someone connected to Luck at a time when Luck remains under contract with the Colts.

18 responses to “Report: Commanders unlikely to face punishment for Andrew Luck tampering

  1. Just googled Luck’s contract information……2016-2021. Andrew Luck signed a 4 year, $22,107,998 contract with the Indianapolis Colts, including a $14,518,544 signing bonus, $22,107,998 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $5,527,000. Help me understand how he is “under contract “ in the year 2022 ? Isn’t that the year the tampering happened…this past football season…2022-23.

  2. Why would it matter since Luck didn’t come out of retirement to take their offer? In fact why should anyone be punished over a retired, inactive player?
    And by the way…. How long does Luck remain under contract when he’s announced his retirement?

  3. “Colts demanded an investigation after ESPN reported that the Commanders “even phoned the retired Andrew Luck”

    Maybe the NFL should be looking into the reporter from ESPN who made the report? Phony reporting ??

  4. The Eagles got compensated because the Cardinals’ tampering actually led to a hiring. The Commanders didn’t get Luck. And the Dolphins didn’t get Brady / Payton.

  5. I’m sure if Luck was interested, Washington would have worked out compensation for a trade.
    Since he wasn’t interested, I have to laugh that anyone cares.
    I guess even billionaires like something for nothing.

  6. From the league’s perspective, they are likely thinking ‘no harm, no foul’. If they properly investigate and punish the franchise they 1) create a sensational story painting the league in a bad light. 2) Complicate the sale of the involved franchise. 3) Possibly stir up animosity amongst the ownership ranks, sparking more such investigations. As Goodel’s main charge is to ‘protect the Shield’, from where he sits, for better or worse, its best to let sleeping dogs lie.

  7. Tampering wold require Luck to be on the roster. Lets start with that and decide from there if we need to continue the investigation.

  8. You can’t really tamper with a quitter that’s why this is going nowhere, and Jim Irsay once again has mud on his face

  9. Luck and his agent both denied any contact from the Commanders whatsoever, so not sure why Irsay made this claim. Maybe he had some inside info, but in this case he is barking up the wrong tree.

  10. As long as the Patriots lose a draft pick, I’m good with whatever.

  11. Frankly, there is no value added to anybody by having a tampering rule related to formally retired players. The spirit of tampering rules are to prevent teams from reaching out to players who are currently adding value to a team. You can’t have players like Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes getting lucrative offers from other teams and disrupting the chemistry between them and the teams they are under contract for.

    The worst thing that could happen by “tampering” with Andrew Luck is he decides to come back and play solely because he wants to play for another team, and since the Colts have his rights they’d have to work out trade compensation IF they were even going to allow it. Penalizing a team for simply calling up a player who has been retired for multiple years just to see if he has any interest in returning serves no purpose for anybody.

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