Reporters and sources dance a careful dance at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Media members want information about soon-to-be free agents or players available via trade. Team executives can’t — and probably don’t want to — talk about them without getting fined.
Take the Jarvis Landry situation. He is a member of the Miami Dolphins, and would be until March 14 even if the Dolphins had not placed the franchise tag (at $16 million) on him.
So any team that expresses any interest in him would be subject to a tampering punishment.
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Still, there is a way to get information out of these powerful people, if the question is general and not specific to a player.
Here’s how we approached the Landry issue: Instead of asking NFL executives available at the Combine if they are interested in trading for Landry (which would be tampering, and subject the team involved to punishment), we asked how hard a trade like that would be.
The answer? Not hard at all.
“It’s happened going way back,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “Are there more challenges? Obviously, with the type of contract you might be doing with that player, that might bring a little bit more challenges, but it’s not too difficult to do.”
It has happened, yes. But not a bunch. Teams usually franchise players they want to keep, not ones they want to trade.
But in the past decade, Matt Cassel and Jared Allen both found new homes via trade after their respective teams franchised them for relatively strong compensation.
And receiver-needy teams this year in particular — with few great options in free agency or the draft — could be more receptive than normal to such a transaction.
“What I do know is I think what’s different than in years past is appetite for being more aggressive with trades,” Rams general manager Les Snead said. “Not necessarily with the franchise tag. If someone’s franchised but the other team is willing to say, ‘Hey can we work something out?’ then I think any team that needs that position, wants that player will try to find a creative way to get that done.”
One potential roadblock: The Dolphins need to find a team willing to not only give up a valuable asset for Landry, but also one with ample cap space to work out a long-term deal.
“It’s definitely a variable that you got to discuss,” Snead said. “Depends on probably the team, where they’re at cap-wise, where they’re at in terms of their window of competing for a championship.”