You'd think that every NFL team would take more proactive steps to insure that people are who they say they are in the wake of the Manti Te'o "catfishing" scandal, but it doesn't appear to be so. In a hilarious story brought to you by Deadspin, a couple of 20-year-old kids called the Buffalo Bills' front office phone number (it's publically listed, you see), pretended to be Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, and asked for Bills GM Buddy Nix. They were transferred right in, and hung up when they discovered that they were being patched through.
The determined Nix called the number back -- over and over. Through last Thursday evening and into last Friday morning, according to Deadspin's report. Emboldened by this, they then called the Buccaneers' front office, and were patched through to Dominik, when Nix called them again. Now, the kids had two real-life NFL general managers on the line, and neither GM had knowledge that the call was not only being listened to by others, but also recorded. (Note: There's a pretty good chance this stuff is highly illegal, and we're not sure how long this audio will be available).
"Dadgum, son," Nix said to Dominik with a laugh, "I've called you back a hundred times!"
Dominik assured Nix that he would have called him back under those circumstances.
However, Nix was not perturbed by this oddity, and the two men started talking about the upcoming free agency market, and their teams in general. Neither man was impressed by the new 72-hour pre-free-agency window that allowed teams and agents to discuss future free-agent signings -- Dominik said that all it does is to "give leverage to the agents to ask for more money," and Nix agrees, saying that teams need to "fight to get this done away with."
The real blockbuster comes when Nix basically admits that if quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't re-structure his deal, there will be issues. And there were. Fitzpatrick carried a $10.45 million salary cap charge in 2013 as part of the seven-year, $62.195 million contract he signed in October 2011 and that led to the quarterback's release on Tuesday afternoon.
"We're still struggling here with our quarterback," Nix said. "We're not really struggling--he's going to have to do something, or we'll have to ... We just can't afford to pay that kind of money for a guy who's fighting for probably a backup job."
Zoikes. The two men then agree that if you have a franchise quarterback, things are pretty easy. "Look, you got the best gig in the National Football League," Nix recalls telling Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson. "I mean, you got a quarterback the first pick, you're a genius for 10 years now."
We're not sure what the specific legal ramifications will be, but we're suspecting that NFL teams will be changing their internal communication policies in the very near future.
And yes, if the Bills were to select Te'o in next month's NFL Draft, that would be about the best thing ever.
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