NFL strips Chiefs of draft picks for tampering with Jeremy Maclin

Oct. 18, 2015; Minneapolis; Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Oct. 18, 2015; Minneapolis; Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs landed a coveted free-agent target in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin last year, but now it will cost the team.

The NFL announced Wednesday the Chiefs were found to have violated the Anti-Tampering Policy by having improper contact with Maclin, who was then under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, during the 2015 open-negotiation period.

The league announced the Chiefs would lose a third-round pick in May’s NFL Draft and a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft. Additionally, the Chiefs as an organization were fined $250,000, while coach Andy Reid was fined $75,000 and general manager John Dorsey was fined $25,000.

During the annual open-negotiation period, which in 2015 was a three-day window before the start of the league’s calendar year, teams are allowed to contact and enter into negotiations with the agents representing players scheduled to become unrestricted free agent. That contact does not apply to the players themselves.

The NFL said in a statement the Chiefs cooperated fully during the investigation, including allowing “full access to all of the information requested, including electronic and telephone records, and unrestricted access to all club people whom we sought to interview.”

While the league took the Chiefs’ cooperation into consideration, the resulting penalty handed down Wednesday appeared severe.

For their part, the Chiefs are gearing up for an appeal.

“While we respect commissioner (Roger) Goodell and the process,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a released statement, “We believe that the penalties proposed in this case are inconsistent with discipline enforced in similar matters – particularly given the league’s inconsistent communication of its policies on contact with potential free agents.

“As an organization, we take great care to conduct ourselves with integrity and operate within the guidelines of the NFL. We have been fully cooperative and transparent with the league in this matter, and we are disappointed with the league’s decision. I want to make it clear that I fully support the leadership of both Coach Reid and John Dorsey. We will continue to explore our options under the appeal process.”

The Chiefs, Reid and Dorsey can appeal the league’s decision in writing by advising the commissioner of that desire within five days.

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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