Posted by Mike Florio on April 23, 2008, 3:55 p.m.
Though as of a day ago it appeared that the league might eventually allow the St. Louis Rams to begin negotiating with one or more players at the No. 2 overall spot in the draft, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that the Rams will not be permitted to do so.
ďThat has been our policy,Ē Aiello said. ďOnly the team with the first pick can negotiate and sign the player.Ē
Aiello also said that, after this yearís draft, the league will re-evaluate the policy.
Multiple league insiders have told us that the reason for the rule is simple ó the league doesnít want to undermine the television coverage of the draft by permitting multiple teams to exercise their picks in advance via reaching contract agreements with players. In theory, four or five or six players could be under contract by the time the draft starts, which would be almost as annoying as Chris Berman disclosing picks while the Commissioner walks to the podium with the card.
If thatís the case, however, why not prohibit all pre-draft negotiation? Though we think itís fascinating to follow the rumors (and the conflicts of interest) when a team is in a position to talk to multiple players, the only fair solution would be to stop the practice altogether, if the next team up doesnít get a chance to negotiate before the draft aft