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NFL Free Agency 2014: Three Day Negotiating Window Begins

The unofficial start of 2014 NFL free agency begins today, Saturday March 8th, at 12:00 PM EST.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The unofficial start of 2014 NFL free agency begins today, Saturday March 8th, at 12:00 PM EST.  For the second year in a row, in an attempt to curb all the illegal tampering that goes on before free agency, the NFL has decided to make it legal. NFL free agency does not officially begin until Tuesday, March 11th at 4:00 PM EST, but a "negotiating period" or "legal tampering" as it's come to be known begins today at noon.

Here are the important things to know regarding this 3-day negotiating window:

• Agents can negotiate numbers, but not actually sign a deal
• Agents can talk to teams, not the player
• Players can't visit other teams (except their own)
• Only applies to UFAs, not RFAs or ERFAs
• Starts today at 12 PM EST and ends when FA starts on Tuesday at 4 PM EST

For a more detailed explanation, read this Q&A from the NFL:

Q.  What is permitted during the three-day negotiating period prior to the start of free agency?

A.  Beginning at 12:00 noon ET on Saturday, March 8 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.  However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

During this negotiation period, a prospective unrestricted free agent cannot visit a club (other than the player's current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player's current club).  If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

Clubs (other than the player's current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free agent players, their certified agents, or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players' 2013 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

The three-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.

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