The Chiefs lost their appeal of the NFL’s tampering ruling, the league announced Monday, which means they will forfeit their third-round draft pick this year and sixth-round pick next year.
The Chiefs’ fine was reduced from $250,000 to $200,000, however, while coach Andy Reid’s fine was reduced from $75,000 to $60,000. General manager John Dorsey’s fine of $25,000 stands.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league’s annual meeting in March that he planned to personally hear the Chiefs’ appeal. The punishment was levied by the league’s executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent.
The infraction, the league says, came during the pre-free agency negotiating period in March 2015, when the Chiefs were courting Maclin, then under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The league says the Chiefs had direct contact with Maclin during the negotiating period, which is prohibited. The Chiefs eventually signed Maclin to a five-year, $55 million contract.
Chairman Clark Hunt said in March that he felt the club was transparent and cooperative with the league, and was disappointed with the severity of the league’s punishment. He echoed that statement Monday.
“We appreciate the opportunity to make our appeal on this matter,” Hunt said in a release, “and we acknowledge the minor reduction in fines imposed. However, we continue to believe that the facts of this case combined with the league’s inconsistent enforcement of its tampering policies do not warrant the most severe penalty for player-related tampering in league history.
“Having exhausted our options under the appeal process, we are turning the page on this issue and look forward to continuing our preparations for the 2016 season.”
To Hunt’s point, the New York Jets, for example, were only fined $100,000 when owner Woody Johnson spoke publicly about his desire to bring Darrelle Revis — who was a member of the New England Patriots — back to the Jets. Three months later, Revis signed with the Jets.
The Chiefs’ punishment is significantly more severe than the Jets’. But contacting a player directly during the legal tampering period probably justified a harsher punishment, and the league said it had full access to the Chiefs’ emails and text messages — something Hunt alluded to in his previous statement.
The league made changes to its legal tampering period this year, however, shortening the tampering window from three days to two and allowing teams to negotiate all aspects of a player’s contract, as opposed to past years, when agreeing to deals — in any form — before free agency was not allowed.
Goodell said those changes were brought about by an ongoing desire to refine and clarify the policy.
The Chiefs still have seven selections in this year’s draft, which starts on April 28 and ends on April 30. Last year, the Chiefs acquired an additional fifth-round pick from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade for safety Kelcie McCray.