Friday, March 8, 2013
A weekend of rumors and speculation?
By Kevin Seifert
Many of us have been trying to figure out how seriously to take the NFL's three-day negotiating window prior to Tuesday's official start to free agency, which opens in a little more than an hour. Would major agreements soon be apparent, even if they weren't confirmed by the primary participants?
Would we at least get a clear idea of the primary suitors for key free agents?
Or would it just be a whole lot (more) of talk?
Based on an NFL memo sent Friday, and reported on by ESPN's Adam Schefter, it sounds as if the league wants nothing more than the final option to take place this weekend. This is our first go-around with the three-day window, but from the sounds of it, we might not get much in the way of hard news over the next few hours and perhaps days.
The memo made clear the league won't allow a team 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."
The league also threatened a tampering investigation if an agreement is so much as reported on by a media organization. The early guess is that the memo will cause teams to pull way back on any aggressive plans, at least anything that could be rooted out by reporters, over the next few days. We'll see if that is in fact the way it works out. I'll stay up as long as I can this evening, and then circle back with you in the morning.
Note: The one bit of news we do have in the NFC North is that Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton announced his intention to sign his $8.45 million franchise tag. The biggest implication of that action: The Bears can no longer rescind the tag if they change their minds or sign/draft a replacement for him.