Should Packers file tampering charges against the 49ers and/or Broncos?
The Packers reportedly believe that the 49ers and Broncos may have tampered with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers reportedly won’t be doing anything about it.
Maybe they should.
There’s one important reason for considering filing tampering charges against the 49ers or the Broncos. Even if the teams have covered their tracks and/or even if the NFL won’t look very hard for the evidence and/or even if the league finds evidence and won’t do anything about it, filing tampering charges against the 49ers and/or the Broncos would potentially keep any future tampering from happening, if the Packers are intent on taking a “play for us or play for no one” position with Rodgers.
The 49ers have been surprisingly candid about their effort to explore a Rodgers trade. G.M. John Lynch mentioned it during a press conference last week. Coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged it during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. Even CEO Jed York alluded during an appearance on the NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers Talk podcast that Kyle had “talked about trading for Aaron.”
“Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation of this Anti-Tampering Policy,” says the relevant league document. If the league wanted to apply the policy literally and strictly (something it rarely if ever does), the NFL could find that the public comments already made amount to a violation.
Here’s the other reality for the Packers. Everybody tampers. So if the Packers officially accuse the 49ers and/or the Broncos of tampering, they open the door to be accused of tampering by other teams.
Besides, if the Packers are going to dig in and not judge, it doesn’t matter if every other team tampers with Rodgers. The damage to the relationship already has been done. Nothing any team says or does is going to make Rodgers more determined to leave.
So it’s probably smart for the Packers to not push it. But an argument could be made for taking an aggressive position, if only to ensure that all other teams will back off while the drama plays out between the Packers and Rodgers, however it plays out.