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Tampering season already has begun

In recognition of the fact that tampering with looming free agents is rampant, the NFL has created a three-day window during which teams and agents can negotiate before the free-agency period begins on March 12 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

But the tampering will occur long before midnight on Saturday, March 9.  As one source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT, it already has begun.

Specifically, teams already are contacting player agents regarding players due to become free agents.  Often, the conversations are couched in hypothetical terms.  Sometimes, it’s blatant.

It’ll only get worse over the next few weeks, culminating with the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where every team and every agent will be in the same half-mile radius for multiple days.

The problem is that everyone does it.  Several years ago, one team executive told PFT that his team started doing it only when it became clear that his team was at a strategic disadvantage, given the widespread nature of the practice.

The NFL rarely if ever affirmatively investigates tampering.  Instead, the league typically acts only if a team is caught by another franchise with one hand pressed against the bottom of the cookie jar, with the other hand giving 345 Park Avenue the finger.

There’s a chance the NFL at some point will swoop in and nail one of the 32 teams that tampers, in order to stop the practice.  Before Commissioner Roger Goodell does that, however, he should study carefully former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s ruling in the bounty case; specifically, the portion that talks about how to properly implement a culture change.

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38 Responses to “Tampering season already has begun”
  1. negaduck says: Feb 9, 2013 11:54 AM

    “The problem is that everyone does it.”

    Why is it a problem? Or better question, who cares?

  2. jakec4 says: Feb 9, 2013 11:54 AM

    Until they do nail someone and hand out the type of discipline that will deter any of the other teams, the early bird catches the worm. A free agent wants money, but he also wants to play where he’s really wanted.

  3. wayne1693 says: Feb 9, 2013 11:56 AM

    Unlike PEDs & Bounties…this would be a ridiculous issue to try to police, particularly if everyone is doing it.

  4. benwaballs11 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:06 PM

    Why not start free agency immediately following the Super Bowl?

  5. wiscoviking says: Feb 9, 2013 12:09 PM

    This is dumb, nfl would be more relevant then ever if they would start free agency after the Super Bowl! There is hardly disadvantage to this especially since guys talk to each other all the time. NBA is a great example, all guys have to do is agree they want to play together and you have the Miami heat!
    Goodell needs to open this up and not clamp down, like he does on everything else he sticks his nose into.

  6. ramitbaby says: Feb 9, 2013 12:11 PM

    Great inside scoop here. Claim it has already begun but dont bother revealing a player or a team even rumored to be involved.

  7. barneysbullet says: Feb 9, 2013 12:11 PM

    “…with the other hand giving 345 Park Avenue the middle finger…”

    Ohhh Mikey, you make me giggle sometimes. 🙂

  8. mazblast says: Feb 9, 2013 12:17 PM

    MLB doesn’t appear to be hurt by opening up free agency five days (?) after the World Series ends, so why should the NFL wait a whole month-plus after the Super Bowl?

    As for investigating and penalizing “tampering”, we know exactly when The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person will do it. It’ll happen when (a) the Giants and/or Patriots lose a key player they expected to retain, (b) a little less likely, when they don’t get a free agent they thought was “in the bag”, or (c), a little less likely than that, when someone in the divisions of those two teams gets a free agent who may be a “game-changer” and Mara or Kraft doesn’t like it.

  9. ironman721 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:23 PM

    The day after the winning team has their parade 🎉, start free agency.

  10. jagsfan1 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:25 PM

    Great – now a few months of ridiculously boring “tampering” articles again….
    Can’t you do Favre,Rex Ryan, Tebow, instead? As pathetically boring as THOSE articles are…they are still better than anything “tampering” related.

  11. onbucky96 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:31 PM

    Wrong, not everyone does it. The Packers seem to ignore FA yearly. In Ted we trust, but come on, spend some bloody money already!

  12. misterchainbluelightning says: Feb 9, 2013 12:36 PM

    Tampering season never ends Mike

  13. sickcuz says: Feb 9, 2013 12:40 PM

    The Redskins claim to be actively trying to get their salary cap penalty reduced..wouldn’t be surprised to see them be the team to get busted for tampering.

  14. mrbigass says: Feb 9, 2013 12:40 PM

    Tamponing! No one cares!

  15. dartwick says: Feb 9, 2013 12:41 PM

    You are using words like “worse” and “problem.”


  16. bartlettruss says: Feb 9, 2013 12:41 PM

    Have any of the NFL executives raised teenagers? If not, here’s a tip… Get rid of rules you cannot or are not willing to enforce. Not doing so undermines the authority you do have.

  17. FinFan68 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:42 PM

    Target the agents. If there is a chance they would lose their license or ability to represent players they would be less likely to do it. Announce that anybody that gets caught is gone.

  18. thetooloftools says: Feb 9, 2013 12:50 PM

    this is like the silly season in nascar.

  19. mrlaloosh says: Feb 9, 2013 12:52 PM

    This is stupid. Nobody cares.

  20. erikmc10 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:52 PM

    What problem are the tampering rules trying to solve? Let’s figure out the problem here, first.

  21. proudliberal85392 says: Feb 9, 2013 12:57 PM

    Follow MLB’s example. The free agent season starts soon after the World Series. Why not do the same thing after the Super Bowl?

  22. conormacleod says: Feb 9, 2013 12:59 PM

    Have the Saints fans come forward and professed their teams innocence yet?

  23. tonyc920 says: Feb 9, 2013 1:00 PM

    The manner in which the NFL oversees this Free Agency is just ridiculous. When the SuperBowl is completed the NFL season is officially over. I can see a happening, an unrestricted FA filing a lawsuit against the NFL for restriction of trade. Technically the FA player is not under a contract and should be able to deal with whomever he wants to. Right ?

  24. peytonwantsaflag says: Feb 9, 2013 1:04 PM

    I have less problem with tampering than I do the complete lack of any journalistic intregrity in the sporting world.

    One anonymous source?

  25. braven4evr says: Feb 9, 2013 1:47 PM

    This has nothing to do with helmet to helmet hits or a bounty; so that Goofball commissioner won’t do anything about it!

  26. donmcg2012 says: Feb 9, 2013 1:53 PM

    “”Why not start free agency immediately following the Super Bowl?””

    Agreed, what’s the reason to wait 5 weeks after the Super Bowl anyway? I’m a Browns fan, and the offseason normally is more exciting than the regular season to begin with. Let’s get it going and allow it all the way up to the draft.

  27. bunjy96 says: Feb 9, 2013 2:03 PM

    Brees wants a detailed explanation about which Saint was it?

  28. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 9, 2013 2:08 PM

    So on a site where people have piled on various teams for cheating over and over, no one cares that a lot of teams cheat by tampering ?

    Tampering may not sexy or exciting but its violating a rule and cheating is cheating right ?

  29. csilojohnson says: Feb 9, 2013 2:09 PM

    As obvious as this story is. It is still unacceptable to use any unnamed sources. Let alone two in one story. Kind of like the lack of judicial process Goodell employed in the bounty case.

  30. wrenches2pipes says: Feb 9, 2013 2:10 PM

    “Guessing game” for anyone stuck in the house because of the snow. Who is the “executive”in the NFL that says he never did contact agents until everyone else did? My guess is Charlie Casserly.

  31. nawlinsmitty says: Feb 9, 2013 2:20 PM

    It’s amazing how little disregard our society, especially the younger generation, has for rules.

  32. chachanola says: Feb 9, 2013 2:20 PM


  33. wrenches2pipes says: Feb 9, 2013 2:37 PM

    Our society has been doing this since football began.

  34. mullman76 says: Feb 9, 2013 3:30 PM

    Look for Goodell to sanction one of the 32 teams this offseason, most likely the RAIDERS.

    Meanwhile, the patriots will skate as they always do (along with the steelers and giants).

  35. ravenmuscle says: Feb 9, 2013 3:56 PM

    The reality is that in 99% of the instances a free agent doesn’t really make a hill of beans difference for his new team.

    How much did Mario Williams and Albert Haynesworth do for the Bills and Redskins for example. Typically these guys who are looking for the big bucks with a new team never really fit in with their new team and system and were only good because of the chemistry and play making of their former team mates.
    Paul Kruger of the Ravens is a perfect example of a player who wouldn’t have done squat without Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata demanding double teams every play….yet some team will just look at his stats and give him something WAY above what he deserves.

    Last year the Ravens lost Corey Reading and Jarrett Johnson and never lost a beat and those two did nothing for their new teams execpt collect a fat paycheck.

    Also Bart Scot got a huge deal from the Jets and the Jets went nowhere with him and now just released him….yet Rex Ryan thought he stole a monster game changer from the Ravens…NOT.

  36. salventuri says: Feb 9, 2013 4:04 PM

    They should investigate why a murderer is allowed to play for the Ravens.

  37. 1oldpro says: Feb 9, 2013 5:02 PM

    I hate to get so simple but: If it’s against the rules, and everybody is doing it, and the league isn’t enforcing it, why doesn’t the league get rid of the rule?

  38. gridassassin says: Feb 9, 2013 9:12 PM

    SF lost a 5th rounder for tampering with Lance Briggs back in ’07.

    I’d provide a link, but I think links instantly get the post deleted.

    Agents have players across the league, so they’re talking to GMs constantly. I don’t see how this can be policed effectively. SF must have been pretty f’n stupid to get caught.

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