Tampering _ yawn


The 49ers apparently stand accused of tampering with prospective free agents Lance Briggs and Justin Smith and the agent for cornerback Asante Samuel is talking openly of the interest in his client _ which of course can only be gauged by illegal contact with prospective employers.

No word on the Raiders, but if they’re not getting a head start, they’re behind the curve.

In the NFL, if you’re not tampering, you’re not trying.

Getting tampering out of the league will happen roughly around the time the NFL eliminates gambling among fans outside of Nevada.

It is virtually impossible to enforce, buried under an avalanche of nods, winks and coded communications.

The NFL scouting combine may as well be a tampering convention. Agents hold a meeting there every year, so most of them attend. Each team sends front office personnel.

They exchange messages on their Blackberrys and cell phones, setting up meetings in restaurants, hotel lobbies and hallways of the Indiana Convention Center, legitimately discussing the re-signing of players who are scheduled to become free agents this Friday.

It doesn’t stop there. How could it?

You’re there, you’re just talking, conjuring up “hypothetical” scenarios of what it would take to get Free Agent A to sign with Team B when the phones start ringing at 12:01 a.m.

Ever seen an NFL contract? I’ve gotten a look at a few, and there is no way free agency opens one minute and several hours later a star player signs on the dotted line.

The player signs because the contract has been talked about in advance _ with more than one team. The agent advises him to sign because he has already gauged the market.

It is a workshop for coaches as well. Being an assistant coach in the NFL means always looking out for your next gig. Given their tenuous existence, it’s the common sense move. John Czarnecki of Foxsports.com, besides advancing the popular theory that James Lofton could soon be the head coach of the Raiders, also noted, “It’s also no secret that current Oakland assistants Greg Knapp and Tom Rathman will be on Jim Mora’s 2009 Seattle coaching staff.”

Czarnecki neglected to mention the third man in that rumor _ offensive line coach Tom Cable.

It’s not a reach, by any means. Knapp and Cable were assistants with Jim Mora on Atlanta’s coaching staff, and Mora is in place to succeed Mike Holmgren as coach of the Seahawks next year. Rathman worked with Mora in San Francisco.

All three assistants have two-year contracts with Oakland and are in Lane Kiffin’s dwindling inner circle, with very real concerns about their future considering the embattled nature of the man who talked them in to coming to Oakland.

Coaches are forever assembling coaching staffs in their minds for the day they get a head coaching job. It isn’t difficult to envision Mora telling all three of these men after being deposed in Atlanta, “Next time I get a head coaching job, expect a call.”

Then sending smoke signals when it actually happens.

And that’s the thing about tampering. There may be smoke, but never enough of a fire to prove it ever happened.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Valley Raider

    You guys are crazy not one of them girls is fine.

  • Noshadowking

    Well it says they are planning on moving T. Kelley inside to replace Sapp and this is a pretty hefty contract. I think this pretty much takes the idea of us possibly drafting Dorsey away completely. Its looking more like Ellis or Mcfadden now


    It said it was the largest DT contract ever. Hope his rehap from the ACL was on schedule.

  • La Milicia Negra

    EX- LA…

    For real??


    Didn’t use spell check. I meant rehab


    Yes, it’s on ESPN.com

  • La Milicia Negra


    Link, URL – SOurce anything? if this is true we halfways resigning. Clemons next!

  • Noshadowking
  • Raider Fan

    The Oakland Raiders stepped forward Thursday on the eve of free agency and signed Tommy Kelly to the largest contract ever given to a defensive tackle.


    Kelly, a defensive end scheduled to move to defensive tackle this season, signed a seven-year, $50.5 million contract Thursday that has $18.125 million in guarantees. In the first three years of the deal, he will make $25.125 million.

    The Raiders’ plan is for the 300-pound Kelly to replace the retiring Warren Sapp as the three-technique defensive tackle in the Raiders’ 4-3 defense. The move is similar to the one made last year by the Detroit Lions’ Cory Redding, a franchise player who signed a seven-year, $47.5 million deal last summer, the highest among defensive tackles at the time.

    Like Kelly, Redding was an effective run-stopping end with some pass-rush ability so the Lions believed he could move to tackle, work next to Shaun Rogers and create a solid 1-2 interior defensive tackle punch. The Raiders believe Kelly can emerge as one of the league’s best interior defenders.

    Kelly gained the confidence of Raiders coaches by averaging five tackles a game as a starter at defensive end. He’s had 13 career sacks, and the Raiders believe he can be a pass-rushing force at defensive tackle because of his quickness.

    First, though, Kelly has to get healthy. He’s coming off a torn ACL that limited him to seven games last year. He had 30 tackles and a sack in those games. Kelly was going to be a highly coveted defender in free agency because he could play defensive tackle in a 4-3 or defensive end in a 3-4.

    He came to the Raiders in 2004 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State.

    John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.


    I wonder how much of the cap space he took?

  • La Milicia Negra


    Clemons is hopefully next!

  • La Milicia Negra

    Raiders signed DL Tommy Kelly to a seven-year, $50.5 million contract. The deal includes $18.125 in guarantees and $25.125 million in the first three years.

  • Quagmire’d

    Damn, that’s a lot of money….the contract is probably heavily backloaded, but he’ll get paid fat the first three years though.

    Hope he doesn’t turn into Turdell Sands now.

  • Draft Beer

    The Oakland Raiders stepped forward Thursday on the eve of free agency and signed Tommy Kelly to the largest contract ever given to a defensive tackle.

    Damn I Hate Al Davis….all he cares about is money. If he cared about winning he’d open up his wallet and start paying good player to stay in Oakland. Get rid of Al Davis …and his big ego..all he does is take credit for everything.

  • Quagmire’d

    By that I mean…gettin’ paid, then fadin’ away.

  • La Milicia Negra

    o/~ The Number Of the Beast o/~


    I didn’t even have to wait until 9:00 p.m. EST for good news. Wonder how the media will spin this. Could AD and LK be on the same page.

  • LosT

    Kiffin must have spiked Al’s ensure…Davis took forever to sign Russell and now he gives Kelly that kind of money? Kelly and Sands (highest paid pair of back up d-tackles in the league)…Callahan was right…

  • Dakota

    Say what? HOLY SHITE! WTF ARE WE THINKING???…when did Kelly becomes the best DT in the NFL?

  • Quagmire’d

    With our luck he’ll tear the same ACL early next year.


    I meant 9:00 P.M. PST. This EST zone gets me all the time.

  • Damn, I’m stunned by that Kelly deal. I mean, I wanted to keep the guy but I’m pretty shocked he’s getting that much $$.

  • Dakota

    All Kelly’s agent had to do was walk into Al Davis’ office and say that the Broncos or Chiefs had offered Kelley $45 million and I bet Al dropped $50 mill on the table just to keep Kelly away from an AFC West opponent….same reason Lamont Jordan was not waived to make room for Michael Bush…

    Just my speculation, lol.

  • Dakota

    I hear we are giving $65 million to Jerry Porter. Two year deal.

  • Quagmire’d

    U may be right Dakota….wouldn’t be surprised one bit.

  • Draft Beer

    Some Raider fans….you pukes are absolutely pathetic.

    Your memories are as short as your manually, well manipulted, peckers.

    Kelly is well worth the money….Sapp had nothing but praise for Kelly….and in fact it was Sapp himself that pointed out that Kelly had better stats this early in his career then he did.

  • Quagmire’d

    how much is guaranteed in that Porter deal?

  • Dakota

    $15 dollars

  • Draft Beer

    Only a total moron would compare the hold out of Russell for a big contract to Kelly’s signing.
    Russell never played a down in the NFL and Kelly has played every position on the defensiveline when asked.

  • Raider Fan

    Well, you want to bet we are now taking McFadden.This move sealed the deal.

  • Dakota

    You are a complete moron Draft…just saying….don’t throw stones while living in a glass house.

  • Quagmire’d

    Dakota- spread over two years, that’s $7.50 a pop…lol.

  • RaiderDogg

    RaiderDogg Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 1:10 pm from post #272

    “Also Tommy Kelly isn’t going anywhere. Trust me on this…”

    So now will you guys trust that I know what I am talking about? My inside info isn’t always on the money but sometimes I do get solid info.

    The contract details haven’t been disclosed yet but I am told that it is heavily loaded on the back end. This is a solid move and it helps to clear up the draft and Free Agency a bit more. The Raiders must be pretty confident about Kelly’s rehab progress.

    Maybe the Raiders are looking to somehow get Chris Long or this could mean McFadden will be a Raider. There is still plenty of things that will happen personnel wise before we know for sure which way the draft will go.

  • Dakota

    lunch time, see ya.

  • Quagmire’d

    AD decided on McFadden once he got word of that 40-time.

  • Quagmire’d

    new blog!

  • Dakota

    Dogg, will my wish come true? McFadden or Chris Long? Excellent!

    Okay, really, I am out.

  • r8der4life0408

    I agree that this is a good deal. We are all going to have to get used to the fact that we are going to have to overpay a bit to get the players we want. I think with Kelly moving inside this doesn’t ensure that we will pick a defensive tackle anymore, perhaps we will look at defensive end; someone like: Chris Long, Vernon Gholston, or Phillip Merling. Like the move glad to see we are keeping productive players on our team.

  • LosT

    Kelly is no proven commodity. He’s being paid for his potential (upside)…However, he’s got a broke ACL and he is a 300 Dtackle in the trenches…not good for Acl’s. This is the same move Al made when he resigned Porter for 5 years, 25 million. Where did that get us?

    Pay proven players or draft picks, not hurt potential players.

    Dakota – your probably right on the agent move, and Al should’ve let Jordan go to KC. That would’ve helped us.

  • Raider Fan

    The NFL channel says we have only 3.4 in cap room today

  • RaiderDell

    Draft-you are correct

    Kelly is well worth the money….Sapp had nothing but praise for Kelly….and in fact it was Sapp himself that pointed out that Kelly had better stats this early in his career then he did.

    The deal is a three year deal, the key words are $18 million guaranteed.

    That translates to 3 years $6 million per year.

    Please note Sapp was earning $6.450 Million this past year.

    Kelly is receiving Sapp money as if he would have received if he were to play in 2008.

    The contract is backloaded by the terms reported by ESPN.

    The Raider cap hit is no different, other than Sapp’s retirement will be prorated possibly over two years.

    That’s why Sapp is waiting to complete his retirement paperwork until then.

  • RaiderDell


    Nice post, you beat me to the punch regarding the backload of the contract.

    I believe this gives them the opportunity to draft Long, for DE or Dorsey/Ellis, DT.

    Kelly play DT or DE, and be effective either way.

    The options are that no one really knows which way they go, other teams drafting after them.

  • lakerhater

    Lakerhater is my name…do your worst

  • freezie