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Will botched trade hurt Bears’ Jerry Angelo?

Former OregState football player Stephen Paeworks out for NFL scouts during pro day Corvallis Ore. Thursday March 31 2011. (AP

Former Oregon State football player Stephen Paea works out for NFL scouts during pro day in Corvallis, Ore., on Thursday, March 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Thomas Patterson)

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Updated: August 13, 2011 2:14AM



Normally it takes a few years to figure out how a team has done in the NFL draft, but what was clear by Friday night was that Jerry Angelo, the man at the center of Draftgate 2011 — or is it Tradegate 2011? — may have done significant damage to his reputation, regardless of how the Bears’ new rookies grade out. Will Angelo be left with an indelible stain on his name after a botched trade attempt with Baltimore and a subsequent deal with Washington involving the same fourth-round pick?

He didn’t seem too worried about it on Friday night after boosting the draft haul with second-round defensive tackle Stephen Paea and third-round safety Chris Conte to go with offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, selected at No. 29 on Thursday.

‘‘Believe me, I am going into my 31st year in this league,’’ Angelo said. ‘‘There has been a hell of a lot worse that has been done, believe me, on the clock, and there have been things out there documented, so let’s not get into judging souls here.

‘Total transparency’

‘‘There isn’t anybody in this room that hasn’t made a mistake. We made an honest mistake. No more than that. There was total transparency. You make your apologies, and we did, and if there are consequences, you accept those consequences and then you move on. So be it. It won’t be my last.’’

The Baltimore Ravens are unlikely to be doing much business with the Bears after what Angelo described as an internal ‘‘disconnect’’ and a ‘‘glitch’’ that kept the team from contacting Joel Bussert at the NFL office with word they agreed to a deal with the Ravens. The Bears wanted to move up from the No. 29 selection of the first round to No. 26 and agreed to give up their fourth-round pick, No. 127 overall, in order to do so.

That’s how much the Bears wanted Carimi, the mauler from Wisconsin who may have a chance at left tackle but definitely fits the bill on the right side. The Bears’ failure to contact the league infuriated the Ravens, who wound up looking foolish when they were forced to move down a spot and take Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith after Kansas City rushed in its selection of Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin.

When the first round ended on Thursday night, Angelo personally called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti with an apology that
apparently wasn’t accepted. Bisciotti and the Ravens brain trust, including GM Ozzie
Newsome, felt the deal was consummated and wanted the fourth-round pick. Their argument is that in the minutes that teams have to cut deals while the draft clock is running, there is no ability to bring in lawyers to write contracts. It comes down to a gentlemen’s agreement.

Angelo confirmed a report that the Ravens appealed the issue to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who talked to the Bears on Friday and encouraged them to compensate the Ravens, but did not order them to do so.

GM not worried

‘‘A mistake was made. No rule was broken, OK, so let’s just make that clear here,’’ Angelo said. ‘‘As I said last night, we made the proper amends from our part and certainly there was no intent other than to do the best we could, and it just didn’t work out.’’

Angelo said he’s not worried about any future consequences,

‘‘If there is something that needs to be done, I trust the league will do their due diligence and so be it,’’ he said.

Angelo didn’t have any problem finding a trade partner on Friday night when he gave the fourth-round pick in question to Washington in order to grab Paea even as league sources said the Ravens were still stewing and accusing Angelo of casual incompetence as opposed to outright skulduggery.

Maybe the final word on the subject should come from Newsome himself, by way of Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who unearthed an old quote from eight years ago when Baltimore failed to trade up with Minnesota in a similar situation.

‘‘The deal was not consummated,’’ Newsome said at the time. ‘‘A deal is not a deal until I talk to [league executive] Joel Bussert, and I never talked to Joel Bussert.’’

Angelo couldn’t have said it any better himself.



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