Current rules regarding restricted free agents state that if a team signs a player to an offer sheet and the offer is not matched by the team, then they must surrender their original pick in the round at which the player was tendered. For the Seahawks to sign Brandon Marshall, that means giving up the the 6th pick in the draft, rather than the 14th pick which they acquired from the Broncos in a draft-day trade last year.
But the folks at ProFootballTalk may have found a loophole:
[the Seahawks] should offer the 14th overall pick to any team that is able to finagle Marshall for a selection in the bottom half of round one.
More specifically, the Seahawks should offer the opportunity to the Chargers, who hold the 28th pick in the first round.
The steps are simple. San Diego would sign Marshall to an offer sheet containing terms to which the Seahawks know Marshall will agree…
The offer sheet would include a provision that defers for five days or after the deal becomes effective the payment of any money, so that the Chargers never have to actually cut a check to Marshall.
Then, after the offer sheet isn’t matched and Marshall becomes a Charger and the 28th overall pick flows from San Diego to Denver, the Chargers would send Marshall to Seattle for the 14th overall pick.
Its a potentially brilliant idea. The Seahawks get Marshall, keep the 6th overall selection and the Chargers could move up to N0. 14 where they would likely target C.J. Spiller or perhaps Dan Williams.
It almost makes too much sense not to happen (assuming the Seahawks even want Marshall, that is).
But while its a great idea on paper, we have to wonder if it’s even legal. It would seem as though this would qualify as collusion. However, most steps taken to prevent collusion do so to prevent owners from conspiring against players. In this case, Marshall benefits as much as anyone. Its actually owners colluding against other owners – a rare scenario which may have slipped through the cracks of any agreement currently in place to prevent similar actions.
ProFootballTalk has stated that they are inquiring about the legality of the move.