Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in attendance before Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency: New Rule Allows Earlier Negotiations


The NFL Scouting Combine is done and in the books.  With that the league prepares for the real beginning of the offseason: free agency.  It’s during free agency that teams begin to alter their makeup drastically.  Free agency can set up draft picks, fill holes, and even make contenders out of whomever Brett Favre goes to.  No, he isn’t coming back again this season, don’t worry.

NFL free agency begins on March 12th.  Before that time teams, agents, and players are not supposed to negotiate.

Well, they’ve changed that now.  The league is now allowing a three day period before March 12th to “legally” allow negotiations to take place.  As if they weren’t already.

“I think it’s more of a way to say, ‘We know everybody’s tampering anyway, so let’s just create the perception that there’s a three day window now, so at least you’re doing it legally for 72 hours,’” an agent told FoxSports North.

Before the new collective bargaining agreement from 2011, teams didn’t have the two weeks they now have between the combine and fre agency.  The added pressure and ability to negotiate with players can lead to some deals being finalized rather than beginning at the start of free agency at 4:00 pm on the 12th.

It’s a good rule that frees things up and likely makes for some more interesting headlines for those of us who are tracking the free agent moves.

- Luke N. Sims

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