Believe it or not, teams may actually be trying to circumvent the rules of the NFL Lockout to get a jump on undrafted free agents! I know! I am appalled, too. I can only imagine this is what the British Redcoats felt like as they were getting shot in the arse by Americans hiding in trees. "Gentlemen! This is war—not hide and seek. Do you filthy savages need a copy of the rulebooks?" But if you are to believe recent reports by Pro Football Weekly this is exactly what is happening.
Six NFL agents, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told PFW that teams were contacting them in regard to their undrafted free-agent clients after the draft, a violation of NFL lockout rules.
Apparently teams just gave this particular part of the lockout a big middle finger:
"It was almost like a normal year in terms of contact, a little less (phone contact) than normal maybe, only without the signed contracts at the end," one of the agents said.
Three of the agents told PFW that coaches went as far as to use their private cell phones so that the evidence of their tampering would be harder to prove. And tampering is the case that they'll give them. There's more....
PFW went onto say:
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed to PFW that any contact between teams and agents or players currently would constitute tampering.
One agent even got specific, and said his client, Tim Barnes, was contacted by the Ravens, Bengals and Dolphins. The Bengals PR department responded by saying they were "puzzled by the report."
Yeah, I bet that is a real head-scratcher. "Golly gee wilikers, we wouldn't do anything like that!" Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't puzzled by it. PFW reported that a Bengals team official told them they didn't think they had Barnes graded high enough to contact him. I can see the Bengals now:
"Hey, the press is calling. They say Tim Barnes agent said we contacted him. Did we?"
"Let's see here, Barnes, Barnes, Barnes. Nope. We contacted a Bane, but not a Barnes. We have Barnes' grade as 'sucky football player."
This whole mess is a cluster. I can see why an agent would lie about this. It helps drive up interest in his client. "Yeah, my guy Tim Barnes here didn't get drafted, but lots, and I mean lots, of teams are already beating down his door. And they are totally doing that for all of my clients. In fact, teams that aren't doing this are really falling behind."
Why would agents leak this information otherwise? It seems counterproductive. You don't raise awareness on something that benefits you, but is being done illegally—unless the blatant disregard of the lockout ethics is just too much for the agents to swallow.
So yeah, we can throw that out. It almost leads me to believe that no teams are contacting them, and they are trying to force the action. Of course, that seems shocking as well. Do we honestly believe that teams are not going to try and get a jump on other teams in these kinds of settings?
The question then becomes, why would teams so brazenly disregard the rules to contact undrafted free agents, but not other free agents? The only possible thing I can think of is that they don't think the league is really going to care. Still, if you were going to break the rules of the lockout would you do so to try and get Tim Barnes into camp or Nnamdi Asomugha? Isn't the reward worth the added risk?
Ugh! My head hurts. None of this makes sense to me, and I am pissed off I have to try and make sense of it. This whole mess is compete trash. Just get back to work. I am so tired of these absurdities.