Pro Football Weekly is reporting that some NFL teams have contacted undrafted players and their agents about contracts, something that the NFL has confirmed would, if true, be a violation of the NFL's lockout rules.
Some of the terms of the NFL lockout are just plain dumb. The fact that none of the Redskins' PR staff could help the media in getting access to some players at a charity golf event on Monday was silly.
The rule regarding undrafted free agents, however, should be strictly enforced. If you have a few rogue teams recruiting prospects while it is prohibited, the teams that are playing by the rules will be at a distinct disadvantage when they are legitimately allowed to begin negotiating with the players.
The PFW story did not name teams involved. An article in the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune did. The paper said that the Ravens, Dolphins, and Bengals all contacted Missouri center Tim Barnes.
Spokesmen for all three teams said that they were not aware of any contact with undrafted players on the part of their teams. This is not surprising as PR staff members generally are not informed of such happenings.
According to the PFW account, contact was generally made via private cell phones, making it difficult to trace the number back to the club.
Teams found guilty of contacting undrafted players could be fined or be stripped of draft picks. It is important that there is a level playing field when the legitimate market for those players opens up so we hope that any teams who are proven to have violated the rules are dealt with harshly.