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Panthers deny in-draft deal with Tommy Stevens

Mississippi State v Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 12: Tommy Stevens #7 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks on during the second half of a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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The Saints have outed the Panthers as having a deal in place to sign Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens, if Stevens went undrafted. The disclosure could land both teams in hot water.

The Panthers are doing their best to escape the boiling pot.

“We didn’t have a deal in place with the player,” Panthers spokesman Steve Drummond told PFT via text message. “We had conversations like every other team.”

Conversations during the draft with players who may not be drafted are permitted. Financial terms can’t be discussed, however. Although it happens all the time, the league emphasized this point in a pre-draft memo sent to all teams.

The Saints claim that they traded back into round seven in order to disrupt the deal that the Panthers struck with Stevens to sign a contract as an undrafted free agent.

The league has declined comment on the situation. At least one league source has predicted that both teams will be punished. The reality remains that every team talks numbers with potential undrafted free agents, during every draft. Like pre-free agency tampering or fudging injury reports, everyone does it -- and very few get whacked for it.