INDIANAPOLIS—The NFL is looking into whether or not the San Francisco 49ers engaged in tampering by discussing a contract with the agent of Bears linebacker Lance Briggs during the past season.
Yahoo Sports reports that the league is investigating the circumstances surrounding the Niners’ alleged negotiations with Drew Rosenhaus on a contract for Briggs during the 2007 season. If San Francisco is found guilty of such a charge, the organization could be fined or stripped of a draft pick.
What is surprising is that the Niners could think that they could sign Briggs to a new deal if they traded for him in October, as the story suggests. The deadline for players designated with the franchise tag to sign multi-year contracts passed in mid-July, before Briggs reported to training camp and signed the $7.206 million, one-year contract he played under. When that date passed, no one could ink Briggs to a longterm deal until after the completion of the season. The Bears have exclusive negotiations rights with him until free agency opens at 11 p.m. Feb. 28.
Rosenhaus met with the Bears at length Thursday to discuss contracts for Briggs, wide receiver Bernard Berrian, defensive tackle Tommie Harris and special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo. They could have asked Rosenhaus about the circumstances of the Niners' involvement at the time. Who knows?