According to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star, the NFL informed the Chiefs on Monday that it denied their appeal of tampering charges levied against them regarding their signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Adam Teicher of ESPN confirmed the report and said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denied the appeal.
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted in March “the Chiefs were found to have tampered with Maclin while he was still under contract with the [Philadelphia] Eagles. As a result, the Chiefs have been docked their third-round pick in this year’s draft and their sixth-round pick in next year’s draft.”
The loss of draft picks wasn’t the only penalty the league dealt to the Chiefs for tampering with Maclin. Smith added head coach Andy Reid was fined $75,000, general manager John Dorsey was fined $25,000, and the team as a whole was fined $250,000. However, Paylor reported on Monday the team’s fine was reduced to $200,000, and Reid’s fine was lessened to $60,000 after the appeal.
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt issued a statement after the NFL denied the appeal, per the team’s official website:
We appreciate the opportunity to make our appeal on this matter, and we acknowledge the minor reduction in fines imposed. However, we continue to believe that the facts of this case combined with the league’s inconsistent enforcement of its tampering policies do not warrant the most severe penalty for player-related tampering in league history.
Having exhausted our options under the appeal process, we are turning the page on this issue and look forward to continuing our preparations for the 2016 season.
Hunt isn’t the only one who doesn't agree with the punishment's severity. Peter King of The MMQB compared the NFL’s punishment to “going 61 in a 55-mph zone” in March.
King recognized the illegal contact between the Chiefs and Maclin before free agency and the “legal tampering period” started was against the rules but still thought the penalty was far too harsh.
According to Smith, it was NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent who handed down the penalty to the Chiefs. Vincent did concede the punishment could have been even worse if the Chiefs didn’t cooperate with the NFL’s investigation and noted they had never officially violated similar tampering rules, per Smith.
Maclin signed with the Chiefs before the 2015 campaign and proceeded to rack up 1,088 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches on an 11-5 Kansas City squad that reached the postseason and beat the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round.
While the loss of two draft picks hurts the Chiefs and their ability to build with an eye on the future, Maclin was the team’s leading receiver in 2015. The former first-rounder even snapped Kansas City’s streak of 18 straight games without a wide receiver catching a touchdown when he hauled in a score during a September loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Maclin is also only 27 years old and should have plenty of productive seasons remaining after topping the 1,000-yard mark in each of the last two campaigns. Losing a third-round pick this year and a sixth-round pick next year is costly, but Maclin can prove himself worth it if he continues to play at an elevated level moving forward for the Chiefs.