This year, in an attempt to curb all the illegal tampering that goes on before free agency, the NFL has decided to make it legal. While NFL free agency does not officially begin until Tuesday, March 12th at 4pm eastern, a "negotiating period" or "legal tampering" as it's come to be known begins tonight at midnight.
So, for the most part, free agency begins tonight. Here's how it works.
- Teams may talk to agents tonight at midnight and begin negotiating contracts, but may not finalize them until free agency begins on Tuesday.
- Teams may not directly contact or speak with players (LOL, yeah.) until the official start of free agency. They may not even discuss having them come visit until the start of free agency.
- The 3-day negotiating period applies only to potential Unrestricted Free Agents, it does not apply to players who are potential Exclusive Rights Players or Restricted Free Agents, or to players who have been designated as Franchise Players or Transition Players.
It should be interesting to see how things play out this weekend, but I suspect we could see teams agreeing in principle to contracts even before Tuesday. This is when it starts to get nuts... so stay tuned to BGN tonight as we bring you all the news and rumors when the tampering period begins.