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Tampering season already has begun

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Last year, the lockout delayed free agency until late July.  And with free agency coming so quickly after the resolution of the lockout, there was no reason for any team to try to get a head start on the shopping spree.

This year, the calendar is back to normal.  Free agency begins March 13.  And, as a result, teams are beginning to subtly — or otherwise — squeeze the vegetables.

We’re already hearing multiple tales of teams making inquiries to the agents of players who will be on the open market when free agency opens.  We won’t name names in order to protect the innocent (or, as the case may be, the guilty).  But it’s already happening.

And once teams realize it’s happening, more teams will do it.  As one team executive told PFT several years ago, that team chose to start doing it because that team believed it was at a strategic disadvantage, given that most if not all other teams were doing it.

The NFL typically won’t enforce the tampering rules unless someone is caught with one hand pressed against the bottom of the cookie jar and the other hand giving the league office the finger.  And so, with no real downside to doing it and a potential disadvantage to not doing what most if not all other teams already do, the free agency period has, in some respects, already opened.

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58 Responses to “Tampering season already has begun”
  1. 1buckeye76 says: Jan 19, 2012 9:37 PM

    This offseason is going to be like heaven compared to last year…. That was brutal.

  2. patslaya says: Jan 19, 2012 9:39 PM

    Redskins…

  3. themonster49 says: Jan 19, 2012 9:40 PM

    Please god let Woody buy Holmes! Anybody! Take him please!

  4. trbowman says: Jan 19, 2012 9:41 PM

    Free agent steal of the year – Brady Quinn

  5. skleech22 says: Jan 19, 2012 9:41 PM

    WHAT? BELICHICK AND THE PATRIOTS WERE CAUGHT CHEATING AGAIN?????

  6. mrjpil says: Jan 19, 2012 9:43 PM

    And the Patriots are still in the playoffs. That should give the rest of the teams a head start.
    Gotta act fast though, they will catch up soon.

  7. pats1995 says: Jan 19, 2012 9:44 PM

    Translation: The NFL is alive and well

  8. dionoil says: Jan 19, 2012 9:45 PM

    Squeeze the vegetables?

  9. nxsteven says: Jan 19, 2012 9:46 PM

    Don’t see why it really matters. Players go to the highest bidder. Only time the team actually matters if it’s an equal or very similar offer.

    Of course you get a few rogue guys who want to stay with a certain team/coach but that’s predetermined far before free agency anyway.

  10. cunningstunts96 says: Jan 19, 2012 9:48 PM

    They keep players in cookie jars?

  11. thatobnoxiousguy says: Jan 19, 2012 9:50 PM

    “As one team executive told PFT several years ago, that team chose to start doing it because that team believed it was at a strategic disadvantage, given that most if not all other teams were doing it.”

    *************************************

    That is the same sad pathetic excuse(lie) I hear from Patriots fans every time the word “CHEATER” is brought up.

    No doubt the executive quoted above is with the Patriots organization, judging by the excuse(lie) he stated.

    “Everyone was doing it”.
    Yea right.

    “I misinterpeted the rules”
    Umm, yea, whatever.

  12. riverhorsey says: Jan 19, 2012 9:50 PM

    Tampering, I though that was a que for GM Pioli in KC.

  13. dondada10 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:00 PM

    Hat tip on the cookie jar line.

  14. seanmmartin says: Jan 19, 2012 10:00 PM

    We don’t need to worry about the Jets tampering. They’re busy with their playoff run.

  15. polarbear71 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:15 PM

    Come on Man…give us something !

  16. jimmysimpson55 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:16 PM

    Mr. Matt Flynn, please pick up the courtesy phone.

  17. jutts says: Jan 19, 2012 10:18 PM

    This is a country where you are still allowed “Free Speach”. Lets hope we the 99% can at least keep that.

  18. tashkalucy says: Jan 19, 2012 10:20 PM

    Without names, there is no story.

    Front office people talk to agent all the time.

    Look at the NBA. Worldwide Wes is more influential then any Owner, GM or Head Coach – and no one says nothing.

    The money is sports is so out of whack, that leagues can’t do anything to enforce their own rules.

    The NBA reminds me of Boxing in the early 50’s before it died as a major sport when the public saw it as a bunch of scumbag promoters running and fixing the sport.

    The NFL has the most integrity, but it’s all relative. When you have desperate losers like Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder and Woody Johnson owning teams, then you have a pretty bad situation. Schmucks like them will do anything to make a splash every off-season.

  19. ajschn06 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:24 PM

    Dear PFT commenters,

    The following remarks are getting ridiculously old….

    “The jets and their playoff run”

    “Tiki is flabbergasted”

    and already…

    “Rob Lowe didn’t tweet it…”

  20. denverhighrize says: Jan 19, 2012 10:25 PM

    This store reminds me of the time I got caught tampering with the label on a new mattress. They really came down hard on me.

  21. explosionsauce says: Jan 19, 2012 10:38 PM

    I’m not saying it’s aliens but it’s aliens

  22. shoeflypie says: Jan 19, 2012 10:39 PM

    @dionoil – what did you want him to use? Certain tree products?

  23. roamingabriel says: Jan 19, 2012 10:39 PM

    The Jets have been talking to Brees???

    I’m just glad the Niners didn’t hurt Marques Colston.

    I’m thinking he’d look swell with Rams horns on his helmet…

  24. noeffinway says: Jan 19, 2012 10:41 PM

    So tell me again please why the Lions were penalized for this tampering crap for something as small as what Gunner said?? Oh wait….yeah that’s right, it was the Lions – gotta use them to set an example….yup….kiss my A$$ goddell!

  25. nepatriots128154 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:42 PM

    A post about cheating can’t arise without some jealous fans bringing up the Patriots. Hey, I’d be envious too if I had to watch another team dominate for 12 years. Having Tom Brady close in on the title of GOAT must really hurt as well.

    Ah well. Patriots were caught cheating, but they won three Super Bowls and are getting ready to play in the AFCCG (again). I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Sundays!

  26. tjp2033 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:47 PM

    I hope the Eagles are tampering for some Linebackers.

  27. judsonjr says: Jan 19, 2012 10:55 PM

    I remember when Sean Jones was wearing a Packer hat on an episode of Home Improvement. I think it even aired before Free Agency had opened.

  28. lilrob10201 says: Jan 19, 2012 10:55 PM

    Yea I just hope that free agentcy does not get delayed and have the draft before the free agency like last offseason.

  29. purplengold says: Jan 19, 2012 10:59 PM

    @jutts
    there are only a few more days of that left online, the senate will be in session Jan. 24 and will pass PIPA and SOPA regardless of how many millions have signed petions against them. Only a handful care about anything related to the welfare of general public. As US citizens, we can now be arrested by our military and held without charges in undisclosed locations for any length of time, this provision was requested by the president as part of the latest war funding bill.

  30. omegaichiban says: Jan 19, 2012 10:59 PM

    Last offseason wasn’t brutal, what’s going to be brutal is this offseason. Boring, waiting to see who gets arrested. If you thought the NFL was going to miss out on 9 Bil??? Here’s the offseason in a nutshell…Will Ray Lewis retire, will the Pack come back and win the SB, can Tim Tebow become an accurate QB annd depending on whether the Patriots win it all, how pissed will Tom Brady be?

  31. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 19, 2012 11:02 PM

    What are the Pats hater going to say when it turns out it was their team that’s involved in tampering ?

  32. rushmatic says: Jan 19, 2012 11:04 PM

    CHEATERS!!!*

    TAMPERGATE!!!**

    Oh, wait. It’s some loser team that no one cares about?

    Moving on…

  33. jvillenole says: Jan 19, 2012 11:04 PM

    Hey ne….

    If you think that Brady is closing in on the title of GOAT….you need to put the crack pipe down.

    Take off your ne glasses, fool.

    Tom Brady couldn’t even sniff Montana’s jock!

  34. vikingdoode says: Jan 19, 2012 11:11 PM

    Least the Vikings are not going to be in the news for this….RIGHT?

  35. djaehne says: Jan 19, 2012 11:12 PM

    >dionoil says:Jan 19, 2012 9:45 PM

    >Squeeze the vegetables?

    Turn your head to the left and cough, please

  36. canadianvikingfaniii says: Jan 19, 2012 11:19 PM

    Todd Haley says also be on the lookout for phones that have been tampered with.

  37. purplengold says: Jan 19, 2012 11:22 PM

    what’s your name
    (what’s your name)
    who’s your agent
    (who’s your agent)
    (is he rich)
    is he rich like me?

    has he taken
    (has he taken)
    any time
    (any time)
    (to show)
    to show how much you need to make
    tell it to me slowly
    tell you what
    I really want to know you

    It’s the time of the season to tamper

    (hammond solo)

  38. irongershwin says: Jan 19, 2012 11:34 PM

    Rob Lowe tweeted about Tiki being flabbergasted by the Jets playoff run.

  39. bsandcs says: Jan 19, 2012 11:39 PM

    i just don’t get the obsession with the people so eager to pounce whenever they can slip in “patriots” and “cheating”. i know it has to to with their continued high level of success because no one cared when, for example, the dolphins were accused of audio recording quarterback cadences because they sucked. now had they been relevant, im sure it would have gotten a whole lot more attention because, well people love to tear others down.

    far greater competitive advantages can be gained from cheating the salary camp or tampering like other teams have done. As opposed to recording sideline gestures that can be viewed by anyone else in the stadium or can be seen on film from an “approved” spot.

    You can film from the endzone. you can film from the sideline if you have a green vest as the jets have shown this season. you can have scouts with binoculars whose sole job it is is to watch and record signals, even though coaches obviously hide and change the signals anyway, doesnt seem like it’s worth the effort. but if you film from the wrong part of the sideline suddenly THAT makes you a cheater.

    BB very well knew what he was doing, i dont buy the misinterpretation, but the whole rule is just so arbitrary. and i find it unfortunate that people just blindly buy into the sensationalism that the media created surrounding the “spygate scandal”. They read a few juicy headlines and then apparently are all informed on the matter.

  40. nepatriots128154 says: Jan 19, 2012 11:57 PM

    @jvillenole

    Let’s see… if he wins this year then that gives him 4 rings to tie Montana, and he would have the more total playoff wins. Brady would own some of the best statistics in history (including the best season in history with those 50 TDs, and one of the second best in 2010). If Manning can’t ever be the same again, then Brady has already beaten him (no fault to Manning, injuries just downed him.) If he appears in 5 SBs, wins 4, and has better career stats than Montana AND his best year is better than Montana’s best, how is he not the GOAT?

    Then again, people were talking about Big Ben being one of the very top of all time before the SB last year. There’s always the chance I’ll be eating humble pie, crow, or a combination thereof in a week or so. But to say Brady isn’t closing in on the GOAT or has a chance of eventually becoming the greatest ever is pure delusion.

  41. nepatriots128154 says: Jan 20, 2012 12:00 AM

    @jvillenole

    Let’s see… if he wins this year than that gives him 4 rings to tie Montana, and he would have the more total playoff wins. Brady would own some of the best statistics in history (including the best season in history with those 50 TDs, and one of the other best in 2010). If Manning can’t ever be the same again, than Brady has already beaten him (no fault to Manning, injuries just downed him) and Brady is definitely closing in on Montana. If he appears in 5 SBs, wins 4, and has better career stats than Montana AND his best year is better than Montana’s best, how is he not the GOAT?

    Then again, people were talking about Big Ben being one of the very top of all time before the SB last year. There’s always the chance I’ll be eating humble pie, crow, or a combination thereof in a week or so. But to say Brady isn’t closing in on the GOAT or has a good chance of eventually becoming the greatest ever is pure delusion.

  42. descendency says: Jan 20, 2012 12:02 AM

    Tiki is flabbergasted that teams would rather cheat than talk to him.

  43. pisano says: Jan 20, 2012 12:15 AM

    Will someone please tamper with Mark Sanchez and get him the hell out of New York!!!

  44. chrissbrdbreu says: Jan 20, 2012 12:21 AM

    hey,
    jvillenole

    re:
    “If you think that Brady is closing in on the title of GOAT….you need to put the crack pipe down.

    Take off your ne glasses, fool.

    Tom Brady couldn’t even sniff Montana’s jock!”

    you got it reversed. if sf had brady, they would have been twice as good.

    if it werent for bill b not drafting good defensive players in the draft, brady would be going for 5 or 6 this year not #4.

    when he retires no one will be close.

  45. maddenisfordorks says: Jan 20, 2012 12:58 AM

    I had to fend off Roethlisberger from tampering with my wife in the ladies’ room.

  46. emmac13 says: Jan 20, 2012 1:11 AM

    I am sure one is Peyton Hillis. Maybe Mario Williams.

  47. buzzbissinger says: Jan 20, 2012 1:31 AM

    @thatobnoxiousguy,

    So how’s that axe-grinding business workin’ for ya?

  48. i10east says: Jan 20, 2012 1:38 AM

    *Insert the tiresome & overused ‘Belicheat’ reference here*

  49. brownsclown says: Jan 20, 2012 7:16 AM

    Braylon Edwards is out there and he claims to be hearing ‘voices’. Of course, he also claims to be a NFL caliber wide receiver but….

  50. pocketsstraight says: Jan 20, 2012 7:48 AM

    @nxsteven

    it matters.

    First — because there are rules, and business (even 32 who act as 1) need to follow the rules. If the rules are wrong, you change them… you do not just ignore them. The public cannot trust the competitive balance if rules just don’t apply to some.

    Second, in this case the rules really do matter. If you have a 2nd tier LB who wants a pay raise. The home team has the advantage of negotiating first. If other teams are tampering and putting in higher bids, there is no point to having the sole right of negotiating.

  51. steelerdynasty2010 says: Jan 20, 2012 8:14 AM

    how else would you explain these one minute negotiating sessions when players sign/agree to a contract at 12:01am on the day FA officially begins?

  52. mpw2133 says: Jan 20, 2012 8:31 AM

    whats funny, is that everytime cheating is the subject all the idiots first claim is that the Patriots are doing it. Well lets end the whole spy gate situation a letter was sent out league wide to stop the video tapping practices. The Pats didnt listen and got caught. Arrogent yes where the the only team doing it NO. A letter would not have been sent out league wide if they where the only team doing it. Next the last teams that were caught tampering where the 49ers, Raiders, Bears, Redskins , and Jets. The Pats would have to be in line to sign a big name free agent for it to be worth tampering but year in and out there not they go the mid-level free agent. I am fro the Bay area and grew up a 49ers fan. I have been a fan of the ninners since 83 , and Im also a Pats fan been that way since 93. Brady is on the way to being greater than Montana and the numbers prove that , but alot of you Patriot haters and Jaded fans cant get your heads out of yoour own @$$ to realize it . Just before making a dumb comment basid on opinion look at the number and compare what Brady has done vs what Montana did and that will tell the story. If the Pats walk away this season with another superbowl win and Brady wins the MVP he has tied or beat everything Super Joe has done . And thats not opinion thats Fact.. Try it sometime

  53. weepingjebus says: Jan 20, 2012 8:42 AM

    Can’t be the Jets; their form of subtle tampering is sending Rex Ryan over to get in a fistfight with the guy’s mailbox.

  54. lks311 says: Jan 20, 2012 9:26 AM

    Last time a team (Lions) were accused by another team (Chiefs) and found guilty of tampering, said other team (Lions) beat the crap out of the other team (Chiefs) by a rather large score (48-3) the following season.

    Maybe a little finger pointing and cookie jar catching is good motivator.

  55. havok82 says: Jan 20, 2012 9:33 AM

    Can we add “Patriots are cheaters” to the list of overused terms? Please?

    For those who keep rehashing it, remember that the Niners and Broncos also were fined and slapped for violating the salary cap. That’s actual cheating. There has been no corrolation to the Patriot videotapes to actual wins. In fact, some of the games they taped they were smoked (and were subsequently smoked in the next meeting).

    Sorry, this horse is dead. Let’s move on.

  56. packerjer says: Jan 20, 2012 9:39 AM

    You’re right about the NFL not enforcing the rule. I remember a few years ago when it was all over the internet that the Redskins had agreed to terms with Albert Haynesworth…2 weeks before it was legal to even talk to him.

    Then sure enough, before most of us were even awake on day 1 of free agency, he’s wearing a Redskins jersey.

    I never bought that whole “waiting outside his house until 12:01 AM story” from the Jets when they acquired Bart Scott, either.

    NFL does seem willing to look the other way on these things.

  57. steelerfanjo says: Jan 20, 2012 10:14 AM

    Roger Goodell will be remembered as the worst commissioner in all of sports by the time he retires. He is a facade. He has ruined the game of football. He is pure evil.

  58. irishnativeson says: Jan 20, 2012 12:35 PM

    It’s the old “if you ain’t cheatin you ain’t tryin” philosophy. You don’t need a Ph.D in situational ethics to get some players cell number.

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