What is the legal tampering period in the NFL?

The tampering period for this NFL season took place from March 7th and ended on Wednesday March 9th at 4pm ET. For the first time, it was shortened to two days instead of the usual three. Now, what is this “tampering period” all about?

The background

It is against the rules for anyone to have conversations about acquiring a player from another team in the NFL. This means that if a coach is playing against a team whose quarterback he is interested in signing, he cannot meet with him. At least he will have to wait until the contract of this player has officially ended, which is the beginning of the new season. The problem with this was that it took a while between conversations and the actual hiring of the player. This is why the NFL provides a tampering period, or the negotiating period for prospective unrestricted free agents. This is the time then in which agents can address the players they are interesting in signing even if the contract with their actual team is not over yet. 

What can be done during tampering period?

Of course, there are some restrictions regarding this period but these have become laxer over the years. During this period teams can negotiate all aspects regarding a player’s contract with their certified agent. Conversations about a deal can be made but nothing more than that. 

What cannot be done during tampering period?

Only agents of the players can be contacted by teams, never directly with the player. This is a problem for those players who act as their own agent. In fact, it is against the rules for a player to be in contact with any team.  In a memo sent by the NFL, they warn that breaking the rules will be considered a violation.




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