You may recall this week that a fascinating profile came out at Sports Illustrated detailing the behind the scenes work of ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. Nobody in sports media breaks as much news or has as much access as Schefty. And according to Sports Illustrated that access doesn’t just include the mysterious “league sources” or front office types, but players too.
SI told a specific story about Schefter getting a call from Bears free agent WR Alshon Jeffery seeking information about other wide receiver contracts around the league. However, as the story began to spread, Jeffery went on Twitter to strongly deny that he would reach out to a media member for advice. He even used all caps so you know he’s serious about it.
Let me set the record straight! I NEVER sought advice from media before I decided to sign my contract with the Eagles. The lies people tell!
— Alshon Jeffery (@TheWorldof_AJ) March 23, 2017
Just as a reminder, here’s what the MMQB wrote about Jeffery calling Schefter for advice on contracts.
In the middle of Schefter’s flurry of calls, Alshon Jeffery (49 Markman points) rings him, wanting to know how much money the other free-agent receivers are making. Players sometimes contact Schefter with questions like this because he likely has that information even if he hasn’t reported it, as is the case here. Indeed, as they talk Schefter receives a text saying that Torrey Smith will be signing with the Eagles.
Schefter goes through the contract numbers on Smith, Jackson and Pierre Garçon, slowly, so Jeffery can apparently write them down. “It’s all about the guarantee, Alshon,” Schefter says. “It’s all about the guarantee … Your average per year could be $100 million. It doesn’t matter. If they’re going to guarantee you the majority of the contract, that’s what you want.”
Schefter asks where Jeffery is going. Jeffery doesn’t have an answer yet. Schefter asks that Jeffery notify him when he does make a decision and leaves the conversation at that.
What is interesting to note about all of this is that Jeffery appeared as a guest on Schefter’s ESPN podcast on March 7th, just a couple days before he signed with the Eagles on March 9th. So clearly the two have/had some kind of relationship. Given Schefter’s supreme level of access all across the NFL, it’s no shock at all that he would talk to players and there would be a two-way flow of information. It is worth noting though that Schefter’s ESPN colleague Josina Anderson broke his signing with the Eagles.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2017
Something is amiss here. We have to believe that either Jeffery is trying to cover himself because he thinks it looks bad that he’s reaching out to a reporter for free agency advice. Jeffery would have nothing to be ashamed of if he’s trying to get a better idea of what his true market value is, would he? He should use every piece of information at his disposal to try to get the best contract possible, so who knows why he would feel the need to come out so strongly and deny this story.
Or, we have to believe that Sports Illustrated would make up an entire conversation between Schefter and Jeffery with very specific details and direct quotes from Schefter.
Of course, he could have been talking to another “Alshon” and this is all a misunderstanding.