There’s been a great deal of confusion among fans, the media and even inside NFL front offices about what exactly the rules are regarding NFL teams’ contact with free agents before full-blown free agency starts on Friday. So we’ve reached out to the league for clarification.
The league office has informed PFT that teams can visit with their own free agents right now, but not with free agents who didn’t play for them in 2010.
That means there is, in fact, a benefit for current teams who want to keep their own free agents: There isn’t the exclusive window for teams wanting to sign their own players that had been discussed during the negotiations to end the lockout, but teams do have the exclusive ability to meet with their own free agents face to face. If you’re trying to sign a free agent from another team, you can’t do it in person.
So the only face-to-face meetings between free agents and NFL teams that can happen today and tomorrow are the ones involving free agents meeting with the teams that employed them in 2010.