Legal NFL Free Agency tampering to begin in just a few hours!
There is a catch -- clubs can only negotiate with the free-agent-to-be player's agent. That means Ed Reed cannot be legally tampered with, because he does not currently have an agent. The player must also be a full-on unrestricted free agent -- franchise players and restricted free agents are not eligible for the upcoming "anything goes" weekend of tampering.
The National Football Post explains the ins and outs of legalized NFL free agent tampering, a previously illegal practice that will now be legal for the three-and-a-half days immediately preceding real NFL free agency. "During the three-day window, prospective unrestricted free agents can’t visit teams or have direct contact with team employees, except those from their current clubs," writes author Joel Corry. However, "NFL teams will be allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents during a three-day period which runs from March 9 at 12:00 AM eastern time until 3:59:59 PM eastern time on March 12."
The new "legal tampering" window will be opened for the first time Friday night/Saturday morning at 12 a.m. Eastern. The new allowance for agent negotiation is a brand new rule that was approved this past autumn at the NFL owner's meetings. It's why the Chicago Bears are pushing so hard to re-sign Brian Urlacher within the next few hours.
"This is a new frontier for everyone," Eugene Parker, agent for Steven Jackson, told USA Today.
This means free agent negotiations can begin in earnest -- but in secret -- at Midnight tonight. Deals still cannot be announced until after 4 p.m. on Tuesday. But that doesn't mean I won't be checking Cliff Avril's Twitter page a couple times shortly after Midnight tonight.