Welcome to legal tampering. I believe it was PFT’s Mike Florio who coined that term for the period starting today at 11 a.m. (Arrowhead Time) and ending at 3 p.m. on Thursday when the 2017 NFL free agency period officially opens.
Teams and the agents for free agents-to-be can begin negotiations in this period but can not execute contracts until Thursday, which is the official start date of free agency.
Why does this period exist? Because back in the day there was a ton of tampering by all teams. Wait. There still is. Chiefs fans are familiar with this because Goodell made an example out of the Chiefs with the Jeremy Maclin signing a couple years ago.
Anyway, teams would tamper (talk to free agents before free agency begins) all the time and the NFL didn’t do anything about it unless someone was caught blatantly tampering. Even then, it was rarely punished which, again, is why the Maclin thing was so unusual.
The NFL acknowledged the tampering that every team was doing by creating a a two-day period before free agency when teams and agents can talk to each other about contracts.
Does tampering still happen? Of course it does. It happens earlier, like at the Combine. (But why would the Chiefs be punished for something everyone does and something the NFL acknowledged by changing the freakin’ rules to accommodate it ... no, I’m not bitter).
What this means for you, the NFL fan, is that we’re going to start seeing free agency rumors as soon as today. I know the NFL doesn’t want every deal to be done and leaked to the public today as they want some drama for the start of free agency on Thursday but there will be plenty of deals done and we’ll hear about plenty of them.
Speaking of tampering, wait for the leak at 11:01 a.m. that so-and-so team has agreed in principle to a $50 million with a free agent and that will be the team you know was tampering. But that’s none of my business ...