What is the NFL tampering window? Everything to know about the pre-free agency period

What is the NFL tampering window? Everything to know about the pre-free agency period

When a window of opportunity ends for (National Football League) NFL players, another window of opportunity arises, a window of opportunity to tamper.

Monday at 12:00 Eastern Time (ET) marks the beginning of the legal tampering window for the National Football League (NFL), which officially marks the beginning of free agency (Wednesday, March 13). During these two days, unrestricted free agents testing the waters will better understand their respective markets.

The window of opportunity for negotiations is not always clear-cut. Players have previously chosen to withdraw from contracts, taking their skills and financial resources elsewhere.

How does the National Football League define “legal tampering”?

Because the National Football League’s legal tampering window occurs two days before the beginning of the new league year, teams can negotiate deals and have direct conversations with the representatives of other players before the official start of free agency on March 13 at four o’clock Eastern Time. Monday at 12:00 Eastern Time marks the beginning of the window, which extends until the beginning of free agency.

During the legal tampering period, which was implemented by the league in 2012, players’ agents were allowed to communicate with interested teams to reduce the number of backdoor deals before players officially entered the open market. As a result, many players will have reached agreements with new teams before Wednesday.

To put this into perspective, once the deals reached during the legal tampering period are signed, they become official. This means players can back out of any discounts negotiated during the window. This has indeed occurred in the past, even though it is not necessarily something that happens frequently.

Nevertheless, there are some limitations to consider. Players are not permitted to visit the facilities of rival teams while the tampering window is in effect. They are not allowed to communicate directly with the front offices of other organizations; this responsibility falls on the agents.

What is the NFL tampering window? Everything to know about the pre-free agency period

The NFL describes the negotiating window in the following manner: “The purpose of the two-day negotiating period is to create a level playing field in the competition for Unrestricted Free Agents by permitting clubs to negotiate with the certified agents of such players concerning all aspects of an NFL Player Contract.

At what point does the NFL’s free agency open?

League free agency will begin on Wednesday, March 13, at four o’clock Eastern Time. The beginning of the new league year marks when players can officially sign contracts with new teams.

The best free agents in the NFL Year 2024

According to Tyler Dragon of USA TODAY, the following is a list of the top ten players who will be available before the start of free agency negotiations (as of March 10):

  • Ranked back Saquon Barkley
  • A. Simmons, Justin the S
  • QB Kirk Cousins and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins
  • Ryan Henry, running back
  • Josh Jacobs, fullback
  • Tyron Smith, overtime player
  • You, Chase Young (DE/OLB)
  • Danielle Hunter, both DE, and OLB
  • Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver

The list of the top fifty players entering free agency can be found here.

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