What is the NFL Legal Tampering Period?
That is a question we get quite a bit on Twitter, so I figured I would break it down for our readers. Starting at noon today, the NFL league year for the 2022 officially begins. This has been in existence since 2013. It is a three day window where NFL agents are allowed to spark up conversations with NFL teams about their free agent football players.
But how does this work?
In 2013, the NFL wanted to crack down on pre-free agency tampering by clubs via the introduction of the legal tampering period, window during which all pending unrestricted free agents are allowed to enter preliminary negotiations with the other organizations in the league, not just the ones that still hold their rights until the official start of free agency on March 17 at 4 pm ET.
A memo was sent out to the teams back in 2013, and it gives the rules about the tampering period.
[P]rior 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.
What does this mean? Not much. Basically agents are talking to teams at the Combine. Let’s not act like it doesn’t happen. So many of the deals will be announced quickly. It takes time to negotiate a deal, the NFL knows that, but they love the news and media hype that comes along with Free Agency so they don’t really get mad.
I mean Trent Brown signed a contract nine minutes into free agency’s tampering period back in 2019. You cannot strike a deal in 9 minutes, but it sure did kick off Free Agency with a bang that year.
So basically, today at Noon, teams will be able to announce they are signing to a player that is considered a free agent. Teams will be making moves today, and I would not be shocked if a team has a deal knocked out quickly. Not nine minutes quick, but I am sure it will not take long for someone to be signed.