League reminds teams of rules for three-day negotiating period

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At 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, agents representing players who become free agents on Tuesday will be permitted to begin negotiating with new teams.  The NFL has sent a memo to all teams outlining the rules of the looming three-day window.

PFT has obtained a copy of the memo.  Here are the highlights.

1.  A team is allowed to submit a written summary of its negotiating position to agents for free agents still under contract with other teams, including length of contract, signing bonus, compensation, and related subjects.

2.  A team is allowed to adjust its negotiating position based on the position presented by a player’s agent.

3.  While negotiations may occur, teams must say that they are not making offers.

4.  Teams cannot execute contracts with free agents from other teams, submit a draft contract, enter into an express or implied agreement or make any promises about the terms that would be available once the free-agency period opens, or provide assurances of intent as to the future execution of a contract.

5.  Teams also cannot discuss or make travel arrangements for a player to visit once the market opens, or to communicate directly with a player.

6.  If a player has no agent, the team can’t negotiate with the player at all.

7.  The period applies only to looming unrestricted free agents; it doesn’t include restricted free agents or players who have been tagged.

“You are reminded that the purpose of the three-day negotiating period is to create a level playing field in the competition for Unrestricted Free Agents, by permitting clubs to express interest in a prospective UFA and to exchange information with certified agents regarding the level of compensation envisioned by the club and the agent,” the memo states.  “Any attempt to undermine the purpose of this negotiating period may be considered conduct detrimental to the League.”

Some of the rules are illogical.  It’s impossible to negotiate without making and exchanging offers.  And while teams are prohibited from making representations that the negotiating positions will become offers once Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET arrives, why else would the teams be outlining negotiating positions?

In theory, a team could toss around inflated negotiating positions without delivering once the market opens.  But if a team starts behaving that way, agents won’t trust those teams — which will make it harder for those teams to do business.

Regardless of the annual “thou shalt not” memo from the league, these negotiating positions are offers.  What else could they be?  Any other approach ignores the reality of transacting business in the NFL.

The goal is to give a team that currently holds a player’s rights one last chance to sign the player based on the market that likely will emerge for his services.  In that respect, it helps players get paid.

Still, like plenty of other rules promulgated by the NFL, the words on paper don’t harmonize with the way things truly operate.

28 responses to “League reminds teams of rules for three-day negotiating period

  1. 8. Offer valid only while supplies last, no substitutions or rain checks, for legal residents of the United States and Puerto Rico.

  2. ‘In theory, a team could toss around inflated negotiating positions’

    Not if you’re Tom Brady.

  3. Well, you are not supposed to cheat, but the Patriots do it anyway,,,,, even after they get caught.

    Still zero legit titles.

    #TaintedTrophies

  4. I am a viking fan. I can not wait for the beginning of free agency to NOT be one of my main high lights of the year. Vikes day of dominance is coming. Skol.

  5. In order to really level the playing field, the team submitting such a written summary should be obliged to provide a copyt simultaneously to the current tem of the player. That way everyone possibly a party would have equal knowledge in the same time frame and could use the information to formulate its position.

  6. bstngrdn says: Mar 7, 2015 12:11 PM

    In order to really level the playing field, the team submitting such a written summary should be obliged to provide a copyt simultaneously to the current tem of the player. That way everyone possibly a party would have equal knowledge in the same time frame and could use the information to formulate its position.

    ——————————–

    One NFL web site for all offers and counter offers to be posted on.
    The NFL could have a whole new revenue stream showing that.

  7. This would be our offer to you we have made some adjustments as per your agents advice but its NOT an offer you understand… what a load of drivel!!!!

  8. With the way the NFL loves to monetize everything, I can see a Free Agent Results show in the near future.

    They are probably trying to train teams not to leak information right now so they can set up a system where there would be a controlled (w/ ad $ of course) release of the signings. I wouldn’t put it past Godell to do this.

  9. As a Bengals fan, I can’t wait to watch other teams start scooping up all the good free agents. After that, the Bengals may kick some tires on old 1st round busts…as long as they’re really cheap. Sigh…

  10. most of these contracts were worked out at the combine anyway, agents and teams probably just make sure everything cool before Tue and ask each other if they got a chance yet to see birdman or american sniper.

  11. 3. While negotiations may occur, teams must say that they are not making offers.

    Once again, the NFL proves that over-legislation leads to more confusion and irrational rules, which in turn leads to more legislation, and on and on it goes.

  12. As a Bengals fan, I can’t wait to watch other teams start scooping up all the good free agents. After that, the Bengals may kick some tires on old 1st round busts…as long as they’re really cheap. Sigh…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I honestly think most fans of most teams feel this way!

  13. Iknowitall says:
    Mar 7, 2015 12:05 PM
    Well, you are not supposed to cheat, but the Patriots do it anyway,,,,, even after they get caught.

    Still zero legit titles.

    #TaintedTrophies
    ==================================

    Another sore loser checking in. Have a nice day….

  14. The NFL will probably try a sting, to try and prove they can do one after botching the deflated football attempt. I wonder who they’re trying to set up now.

  15. ninefingers9 says:
    Mar 7, 2015 12:09 PM

    Is it legal for the packers to talk about their classic choke job?
    ——————————————————
    9fingers, You have to get there to choke.
    Where were your Niners ?? Oh yeah, they were at home watching, HaHaHaHa !!!!!

    And I doubt they get to the playoffs next year either. Maybe Montana and Rice will play next year. LOSERS !!!!

  16. themikegun says:
    Mar 7, 2015 1:15 PM

    The NFL will probably try a sting, to try and prove they can do one after botching the deflated football attempt. I wonder who they’re trying to set up now.
    —————————–
    Well, we could narrow it down some. If we eliminate all the teams with 20m> in cap space that leaves 14. We could narrow it more by eliminating teams continually near the bottom or have issues like relocating, or a brand new front office/coach or both. That leaves 6. We could use a special elimination for Mike Brown’s Bengals because he’s tighter than 2 coats of paint. Take your pick from Colts, Eagles, Seahawks, Packers and Chargers. The Eagles have cleared lots of cap room in the last week, have a need everywhere, and a lunatic fan base who toss death threats out like candy on Halloween. I’d choose them.

  17. Heres an idea:

    Why not eliminate this stupid idea and just say go ahead and start negotiating.

    The NFL rules are created by a bunch of idiots including King Idiot Goodell

  18. Arizona gets an extra hour to negotiate since the clocks don’t change here and it’s still a 24 hour day. And it’s between 2 and 3 AM no less. What a huge advantage!

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