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Bears charge 49ers with tampering - PFT.com


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In a rare move between the 32 business partners who usually play nice with each other, the Chicago Bears have charged the San Francisco 49ers with tampering.

According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, the Bears claim that the Niners talked to Briggs about a possible contract without permission during the 2007 season.

Surprisingly, the Niners admit they communicated with Briggs' agent, Drew Rosenhaus. But the Niners claim that the discussions occurred only after the Niners and the Bears held preliminary trade discussions.

The irony is that the 49ers soon learned that Briggs couldn't be signed to a new contract during the 2007 season because he had not signed a long-term deal by July 15. So if San Fran tampered, they talked about something that never could have happened.

As far as the tampering rules go, however, it doesn't matter. If the 49ers didn't have permission to talk directly with Rosenhaus about Briggs, the rules were violated.

The question, in our view, is whether league rules require the use of any magic words reduced to writing to trigger official permission to permit a player to speak with another team. If there is such a requirement and if, as it appears, the i's weren't dotted and t's weren't crossed, the Niners could be the first team since the Dolphins of the early '70s to be busted for tampering.

The other issue is whether the presence of these allegations will keep the Niners and Rosenhaus from laying the foundation for a contract to be signed at 12:01 a.m. EST on February 29, a sure sign that discussions occurred in violation of the rules against tampering.

Come to think of it, the Bears have signed players to such speedy deals a time or two in the past. And that only reinforces the notion that each of the houses in the NFL's neighborhood are all windows and no walls.

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