Among the frenetic news that has been the start of the 2016 league year and free agency, the NFL announced that the Kansas City Chiefs have been stripped of two draft picks for illegally tampering with then-Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin in 2015, who the team signed to a 5 year, $55 million contract. Additionally the team, general manager John Dorsey, and head coach Andy Reid have been fined separately. Details:
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations TROY VINCENT today advised the Kansas City Chiefs of the discipline being imposed for a violation of the Anti-Tampering Policy relating to improper contact during the 2015 "Negotiating Period" with prospective unrestricted free agent player Jeremy Maclin, then under contract to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Vincent informed Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt by letter that the club and individual employees had violated the Anti-Tampering Policy by having direct communications with Maclin during the Negotiating Period, which is specifically prohibited. Because of those impermissible contacts, Kansas City will forfeit its third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and its sixth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and pay a fine of $250,000. In addition, Head Coach Andy Reid has been fined $75,000 and General Manager John Dorsey has been fined $25,000.
The bolded, all caps emphasis of Troy Vincent is actually the NFL's. The Eagles had been offering Maclin a contract worth $9 million a year, when the 2015 "legal tampering" period started, but Maclin quickly moved on to the Chiefs. Maclin reportedly tried to let the Eagles match the Chiefs offer, but that story does not match up with the NFL's ruling:
So when free-agency Saturday arrived in March, Maclin was intrigued by the prospect of an offer from the Chiefs and Reid but was inclined to stay with the Eagles as he went on a golf trip with Parres and family in Palm Springs.
Even when the Chiefs came at Maclin with a five-year offer worth an average of $11 million a year, Parres said, Maclin primarily wanted to know what the Eagles were thinking.
As Reid, quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel and receivers coach David Culley were calling Maclin that day, "making him feel like he’s the greatest thing on Earth," Parres said, Maclin could "barely get (Eagles coach and de facto general manager) Chip Kelly to answer the phone."
"He called Chip Kelly five times Saturday: ‘Chip, can you just show me anything?’ " Parres recalled.
That Sunday, while Maclin was on the golf course, the Eagles called and countered by shifting money from year three of their offer to year two — which contrary to Kelly and published reports made it close enough to the same deal Maclin was offered with the Chiefs that Maclin was ready to stay.
As they stood on the 16th tee, Maclin’s initial thought was just that.
Then Reid called again.
And 10 minutes later Maclin was Kansas City-bound.
"It wasn’t the money; it was that 10 minutes," Parres said. "Jeremy said, ‘(The Chiefs) just wanted me more, and I think that’s where I should be.’ "
The 2015 "legal tampering" period began on Saturday, March 7th, but the NFL is claiming that the Chiefs contact Maclin directly prior to that day. The Chiefs immediately responded with a statement that they will appeal:
"Today we were informed by the National Football League that our club will be disciplined for an infraction during the 2015 free agency negotiating period.
"While we respect Commissioner Goodell and the process, we believe that the penalties proposed in this case are inconsistent with discipline enforced in similar matters – particularly given the league's inconsistent communication of its policies on contact with potential free agents.
"As an organization, we take great care to conduct ourselves with integrity and operate within the guidelines of the NFL. We have been fully cooperative and transparent with the league in this matter, and we are disappointed with the league’s decision. I want to make it clear that I fully support the leadership of both Coach Reid and John Dorsey. We will continue to explore our options under the appeal process."
- Chiefs Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt
The draft picks will be forfeited, the Eagles will not be receiving them, nor will they receive any other compensation.