What’s done is not forgotten. Not when it comes to the botched trade the Chicago Bears tried to make with the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the April draft.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called out the Bears and the McCaskey family at the time, and now Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has skewered the organization. To recap, the Bears held the 29th pick in the first round and were targeting Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi as the draft unfolded. When Carimi slipped to No. 26, the Bears made a move up to get him. They offered the Ravens the 29th pick and their fourth-round pick to slide up three spots.
Baltimore called in the trade to the NFL office. The Bears never placed the call. That allowed the Kansas City Chiefs, who had the 27th pick, to move one slot ahead and draft Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin. The Ravens then drafted Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and the Bears got the man they wanted – Carimi – at No. 29.
Afterward, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said it was a mistake. Angelo was adamant the Bears didn’t break any rules. He bristled when questioned about the embarrassing situation. The story that unfolded is that Angelo told two staff members to call the league and report the trade. Neither placed the call. The Bears have not made any changes in their front office since.
“I'm not buying a 'mistake' thing,” Harbaugh said this morning on WMVP-AM 1000 on The Waddle & Silvy Show. “They knew what they were doing.” (Listen to the entire interview here)
“They put their guy (Carimi) on the phone. They agreed to a pick,” Harbaugh continued. “They got their guy on the phone. They recognized he wasn't getting calls from the team behind them, and they basically stalled for over a minute, telling us they had called the trade in. They hadn't called the trade in. They said it was a mistake. Those guys have been doing it for a long time.”
The NFL investigated the matter and before the draft resumed on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell encouraged the Bears to compensate the Ravens and make right by the trade they agreed to consummate. The Bears declined.
“You communicate back and forth. And someone's responsible for calling a trade in,” said Harbaugh, whose brother of course was a quarterback for the Bears. “There's no way to not get that done. We saw on TV that they had their guy on the phone and he was who they were talking to, and then they drafted him.
“So they basically just stole two spots from us, and that's not OK. That's not something … it's not ethical, it's not right. And I personally agree with our owner Steve Bisciotti that they should have been held accountable for it. But also it is what it is, they didn't do anything illegal. We were just disappointed with it.”
Will the Ravens hesitate dealing with the Bears in the future?
“Of course,” Harbaugh said. “How do you know that they actually called a trade in? I know one thing, we'll be a lot more careful. We basically just took them at their word. Obviously, that was a mistake.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune