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Ravens' Owner Steve Bisciotti Disagrees with the Bears that an Apology for Draft Fiasco is Good Enough

On Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens used more than their 10 minutes to make a pick, and the Kansas City Chiefs made a pick before they turned their pick of Jimmy Smith in. Baltimore still got the player they wanted with the pick, so in that sense, they didn’t lose anything. However, the delay was caused by the Ravens and the Bears agreeing to a draft pick trade that would have had Baltimore slide back to the Bears’ first round pick (#29) in exchange for a 4th round pick from Chicago.

Kevin Byrne, a Baltimore Senior Vice President, has the Ravens’ account of what transpired on Thursday night when Baltimore used more than the full allotted 10 minutes, and Kansas City made a pick in front of them.

With just over four minutes remaining, the Bears called and made an offer. Oz told them “not good enough, we’re ready to pick.”  Chicago called back within a minute and agreed to Ozzie’s suggestion. Almost instantly, Oz had Bussert on the line. “Joel, we just made a trade with the Bears. They’re calling you now,” Newsome said.

Chicago insisted to Ozzie Newsome on the phone that they had called in the trade; however, the trade call never actually went out. Jerry Angelo, GM for Chicago, acknowledged that it was their fault. Apparently there was some miscommunication on who had called, and nobody did. He apologized.

That wasn’t good enough for Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, though. He had this to say to Jamison Hensley:

I’m disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys [the Bears’ owners]. It is in my opinion a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree … probably end of story.

Sour grapes? Perhaps. But I think, even though Commissioner Goodell decided not to enforce the trade of the fourth round pick to Baltimore, that he should have. I know the rules dictate that a trade isn’t official until both sides confirm to the league office. Obviously such a rule is necessary to insure that both teams do intend to be parties to a trade.

However, the undisputed facts here appear to be that the Bears did make a trade with Baltimore and indicated agreement to the terms. This isn’t a question of intent. Baltimore did not make a pick because they thought a trade had been done, relying to their detriment on Chicago’s actions. I don’t think enforcement should have been based on whether Kansas City made the same pick that Baltimore wanted thereafter. I think precedent and policy dictates the commissioner enforcing the draft day trade of the fourth round pick. What’s to prevent a team from sandbagging a team in the final minute, telling them they have an oral deal, but then intentionally not calling to cause a disadvantage, and claiming it was an error? (I’m not saying that happened here at all, by the way.)

With undisputed facts about the parties both agreeing they had a deal but one side failed to take an administrative step that the other relied on, I would have enforced it.

[photo via Getty]

 

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