Saturday, March 9, 2013
About that three-day negotiating window
By Mike Sando
An NFL memo warning teams against reaching agreement with projected unrestricted free agents before Tuesday is going to make for a quiet weekend unless teams re-sign their own players or release veterans.
ESPN's Adam Schefter has details of the memo:
"Clubs are advised that prior to the beginning of the new League Year it is impermissible for a club to enter into an agreement of any kind, express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent or understandings of any kind concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to, or to be offered to, any prospective Unrestricted Free Agent for inclusion in a Player Contract after the start of the new League Year.
"Any announcement of an agreement or an agreement in principle by a club or another party, including, but not limited to, a certified agent, player, or media organization may subject the club to a tampering investigation."
This runs counter to logical expectations for the three-day negotiating window that opened after midnight Friday. Why negotiate when rules prohibit the desired outcome for any good-faith negotiation: an actual agreement? Perhaps we should call this a communication window, not a negotiating window. By the sound of things, we might even be able to call it another offseason weekend in the NFL.
Free agency begins Tuesday. We'll surely have roster moves before then, but we can forget about agreements between teams and agents regarding other teams' players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.