Now that the official tampering period has begun, teams are able to negotiate with agents (sort of). While any offers and agreements are prohibited, teams are permitted to outline terms that potentially would be offered as of Tuesday, when free agency opens.
Those terms that are being outlined almost definitely will mirror the offers officially made on Tuesday.
Based on the terms that have been outlined in the 150 minutes since the window for legal tampering opened, it’s looking better than last year. A lot better.
“Deals will be higher across this year across the board,” one league source said. “Teams will be spending this year.”
That meshes with recent comments from Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman, who predicted a more active free agency cycle in 2014: “[W]hen you look at this free agency class and you compare it to last year and the year before, it doesn’t have as much talent as it’s had the last couple of years, so I think that more so the teams who have money and want to go into the free agent market, they’re going to be even more aggressive to get those done quickly.”
With the salary cap increasing by $10 million per team this year and potentially spiking to $160 million by 2016, teams not only can spend — they have to. The new labor deal requires teams to spend 89 percent of the unadjusted cap on a (for now) rolling four-year average. So even if teams prefer to build a team with minimum-salary players, teams now must spend.
And they apparently will spend.
We likely won’t know specifics on any spending until Tuesday, thanks to the memo that as a practical matter will prompt teams and agents to say nothing about potential contracts before the signing period launches. As one source explained it, however, teams typically honor the non-binding discussions that occur during the legal tampering period and the non-legal tampering period.
Otherwise, it becomes hard for teams to do business. This year, plenty of business is about to be done.