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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
BBAO: Free-agent rules evolving

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

It's already clear that NFL team executives will need their heads on a swivel during this unprecedented transition from the lockout. Here's an example:

Monday afternoon, the NFL announced that teams would be eligible to begin negotiating and signing undrafted rookies on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. But late Monday afternoon, Minnesota Vikings vice president Rick Spielman received a surprise email while waiting his turn at a quick media availability: The instructions had changed. Negotiations with those undrafted rookies were now allowed immediately.

Moments later, ESPN's John Clayton confirmed the news. After answering questions from reporters, Spielman hustled up to a meeting room where personnel staffers had set up a make-shift phone bank to begin the recruiting process.

I'm guessing there will be a few more curveballs along the way. But barring any immediate changes, NFL teams can formally sign those undrafted rookies starting at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday and can also begin negotiations with draft picks, their free agents and undrafted free agents. Be prepared for a wild few days of news.

Unless that changes, of course.

Here's a quick roundup of news and notes from around the NFC North: