Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 7, five days before the start of the new league year and free agency.
Legal tampering period
We haven’t heard a whole lot about it but the NFL is about to embark on something different this weekend leading up to the start of free agency next Tuesday at 4 p.m. It’s being called the legal tampering period. Here are the rules, courtesy of Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe.
- Period starts at midnight on Saturday and ends at 3:59 p.m. on Tuesday. So, it's actually about 88 hours long;
- Teams can only contact the agents and enter into negotiations. No contracts can be executed until free agency starts at 4 p.m. on Tuesday;
- Teams can't meet with players (other than the player's current club) in any location, and there can be no direct contact between the player and another team;
- Players who don't have an agent, such as Ravens safety Ed Reed, can't be contacted by another team;
- No visits can be lined up until free agency starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday;
- The three-day window only applies to potential unrestricted free agents. It excludes restricted free agents and franchise players.
Now, it’s been an open secret that teams and agents talk about prospective free agents well in advance of when it’s technically legal to do so, which has been the start of free agency. That is how complex multi-million dollar, multi-year deals get signed within hours, even minutes, of the start of free agency.
So the NFL apparently decided to go ahead and legitimize the practice, at least in part. Certainly some talks took place at the NFL Combine last month and they will continue at midnight on Saturday.
What will be different is that since the negotiations are legal, agents are likely to be leaking out information all over the place in an effort to expand the markets for their clients.
So get ready for a wild weekend of news, rumors, and other such reports. It won’t mean much until the deals start getting signed on Tuesday but it will make for an interesting lead up to free agency.
Tandler talks free agency on Redskins Nation
In case you missed it
- The Redskins can create $20 million in cap space fairly painlessly
- London Fletcher has ankle surgery, return seems more likely
- What will the Redskins do with their restricted free agents?
- A.J. Smith joins the Redskins as Senior Executive
Days until: Start of free agency 5; OTA’s start 69; Training camp 140
Tandler’s tweet of the day