The NFL announced today that the Competition Committee has slightly adjusted when teams can approach potential free agents.
Until today, teams were not allowed to talk with players under contract with another team until the official start of free agency. If caught doing so, teams could be penalized for “tampering.”
This rule was largely ignored, however, as was evident when big name free agents signed contracts just minutes after the beginning of free agency. Obviously it isn’t realistic that a team and a free agent could get a deal done so quickly. This created a problem for teams that may have been following the rules.
The new rule states that teams may now enter talks and contract negotiations with free-agents-to-be, three days before the official start of free agency. The rule states that the player can not visit potential new teams or otherwise have any direct contact with any potential employer.
Smart move by the NFL. This will give all interested parties at least a chance to make their pitch and contract offer before the player can actually sign.
On a side note, the league has approved the sale of the Cleveland Browns to new owner Jimmy Haslam.