Panthers draft: Tommy Stevens saga takes another farcical twist

Dean Jones
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Tommy Stevens
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Tommy Stevens /

The Carolina Panthers draft debacle with the New Orleans Saints might have more ramifications than just ‘simple banter’, according to league rules.

Quarterback Tommy Stevens became the center of the Carolina Panthers draft debacle with the New Orleans Saints. While it might have all been done in good humor, it could have greater implications down the road.

The whole situation regarding the Saints trading back into the draft to get a player who has little chance of making the roster was completely devoid of football logic. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, it also broke NFL rules regarding player contact once the draft gets underway.

This could result in commissioner Roger Goodell imposing sanctions on the Panthers and Saints. But no official comment has yet been made regarding the situation.

Florio explained more in a recent article.

"“The rules in this regard are clear, and they were reiterated in the April 21 memo from the league’s player personnel department. Once the draft begins, teams that aren’t on the clock can speak to representatives of players who were not yet drafted, but those conversations must focus only on non-financial matters.“The memo (a copy of which PFT has obtained) contains this message, which is the only passage in the three-page document that appears in bold print, with both underlining and yellow highlighting: “Although a club may inform a player or his agent that the club would be interested in the player’s services if the player is not drafted, no oral or written agreement can be made regarding a player’s future employment.”"

Why Sean Payton would bring this to light is a further reflection of the head coach’s growing arrogance. It also put the Panthers draft team under the spotlight in a situation that is becoming increasingly farcical with every passing day.

If this were to acquire the services of a player that has the potential to immediately contribute, then it would be a completely different matter. Give Stevens’ chances of making a success of his NFL career. The saga just seems completely unnecessary and seems to have exposed a an element of the league that is commonplace, even though nobody talks about it.

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Putting it in the public spotlight is something that Goodell and the rest of the NFL will not take kindly to. If the Panthers draft team and the Saints are punished for it, then they only have themselves to blame.