Kansas City Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt confirmed Monday the team will appeal the punishment handed down by the NFL after the Chiefs were found to have broken league rules on tampering prior to the signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin last year, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
The NFL docked Kansas City two draft picks—a 2016 third-rounder and a 2017 sixth-rounder—and fined the team $250,000 as part of its ruling. Head coach Andy Reid also received a $75,000 fine, and general manager John Dorsey incurred a $25,000 penalty.
“I do not know if it’s scheduled yet,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, per Paylor. “I know they did appeal and will accommodate the date. I do expect I will hear it. I haven’t thought of any other alternatives at this point in time.”
Hunt discussed why he believes losing the draft picks to be so valuable, per Paylor: "What is important about the draft is you’re getting guys that can help the team in 2018 and 2019, so every one of those draft picks is important, and I have tremendous confidence that John will do a great job using the picks we have to build the team for the future."
When news of the ruling broke, some questioned whether the NFL went over the top. Vince Masi, a research specialist for ESPN, found no precedent for the forfeiture of two draft picks stemming from a tampering violation, per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. Seifert also noted the Chiefs' $250,000 fine was the highest ever in a tampering case.
The MMQB's Peter King also argued Kansas City's indiscretion in this case didn't equal the consequences it received:
Is it illegal? Yes. But it's like going 61 in a 55-mph zone. You're not getting ticketed for that in 49 out of 50 states. To get whacked third-round and sixth-round picks by the NFL office is a heavy tariff for it. I spoke with an agent the other day who told me—without names—that two of his free-agent clients this year had contact before free-agency began with coaches (one a head coach, one an assistant coach) on teams desiring to sign them when the free market opened.
ESPN's Adam Caplan tweeted Monday, though, that the NFL has built a strong case for the appeal:
Adam Caplan @caplannfl
My understanding is league has pretty strong information they've gathered on this situation.... https://t.co/61728PjejB3/21/2016, 6:05:48 PM
In 2009, the Press Democrat provided a copy of the league's official anti-tampering policy, which doesn't include a minimum or maximum penalty for a team guilty of a violation: "Any violation of this anti-tampering policy will subject the involved club and/or person to severe disciplinary action by the commissioner. The league office will promulgate to all clubs the details of any penalties imposed for tampering."
According to Paylor, the Chiefs' appeal will likely be heard before the start of the 2016 NFL draft on April 28. Commissioner Roger Goodell could oversee the appeal, or he could designate a third party in charge of weighing Kansas City's case.