Despite all of the efforts the NFL has implemented in attempting to avoid and rule out any pre-free agency tampering by creating a window for permissible pre-free agency tampering, As we saw in the situation including Russell Okung at the Scouting Combine, there are still some who refuse to follow the rules.
Each year, the league sends a memo to all the teams explaining the Rules and Regulations.
For the 2017 season the permissible pre-free agency tampering window opens at 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and it lasts until “3:59:59 p.m.” ET on Thursday.
During that specific time frame, teams may enter contract negotiations with agents representing the players whom will become free agents at 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
“During the two-day negotiating period, all clubs may negotiate all aspects of an NFL Player Contract with the certified agent of any prospective UFA,” the memo explains. “However, a new club may not execute an NFL Player Contract with a prospective UFA until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9, when the player’s 2016 contract expires.”
The following prohibited actions during the legal tampering window include:
(1) executing a player contract;
(2) executing an agreement in principle “or similar document”;
(3) announcing that an agreement in principle or similar agreement has been reached;
(4) violating the CBA provisions that relate to undisclosed contractual terms. (That last one presumably applies even after free agency officially begins.)
A verbal agreement in principle is allowed, as long as it’s not officially announced. The deal is only official once it is signed, no deals can be signed until after 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Travel arrangements for player visits are also forbidden during that time, nor can there be communication with the player.
Bring on the 2017 NFL Season, Its going to be a great one!