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Players will be pressured to agree to terms quickly, again

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The free agency period officially opens on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET. As a practical matter, it begins at 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, when teams are allowed to officially negotiate and reach unenforceable agreements in principle with players will become unrestricted free agents 52 hours later.

This means that teams with: (1) money to spend; and (2) wants and needs to fill will be pushing aggressively for agents representing free agents to make quick decisions so that teams can move on to the next guy on the list, if the first guy isn’t interested in doing a deal. This forces players who may know nothing about a team and teams that may know nothing about a player to engage in speed dating and even faster consummating.

That’s why a longer pre-free-agency period that allows for visits by players with teams makes plenty of sense — for both sides. Last year, the Texans gave quarterback Brock Osweiler a four-year, $72 million contract without ever meeting him. And while a sit-down or a standing white-board session or hours of otherwise talking football and eating steak may not have caused the Texans or Osweiler to look elsewhere, it would have been something more than nothing at all.

Absent the ability to actually meet the guy before the draft, teams may be more comfortable pursuing players of whom they have first-hand knowledge. Which is why it makes sense to connect dots between new coaches and players they’ve worked with (e.g., former Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay and receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garςon). It’s also why the pre-draft process from past years gets dusted off, with coaches and scouts cracking out the files they created four or more years ago, when evaluating and possibly meeting with players who are now available to be signed sight otherwise unseen.

Even if the pre-free-agency period was longer, teams would still be rushing to get agents representing free agents to agree to terms quickly. The budgets have been set, the targets have been identified, and the race commences not on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET but at 12:00 p.m. ET today.

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13 Responses to “Players will be pressured to agree to terms quickly, again”
  1. 6ball says: Mar 7, 2017 6:23 AM

    .
    It’s the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Some teams are are quick out of the gate on day one, tossing 10 million dollar contracts around like they are frisbees. Other teams, like the Patriots, wait until the nonsense ends and shop the clearance bin looking for value.
    .

  2. nflhof says: Mar 7, 2017 8:08 AM

    Except for the pathetic Spanos Chargers they will drive a cheap deal for their Carson fan base

  3. tonebones says: Mar 7, 2017 8:15 AM

    That’s why smart teams build through the draft. Maybe Houston should look into hiring someone who knows how to scouts QBs.

  4. blowfishes says: Mar 7, 2017 9:05 AM

    Why make ‘pre-free-agency’ longer? There shouldn’t be pre-free-agency at all.

    It’s only because the League couldn’t get teams or agents in line that they decided to have this negotiate but not sign period in the first place.

  5. gbrim20 says: Mar 7, 2017 9:26 AM

    That’s a great point Mike. It’s pretty nutty to agree to a $72M contract before meeting a guy. Makes it sound like Obama was running the Texans when you put it that way.

    I’m sold, let’s extend the “tampering” period. Because yes, teams have 53 roster spots and 90 bodies for camp, they have no choice but to make you give them a quick answer, they’ve got a lot of holes to fill. Does lead to some dumb decisions though.

    Luckily my Cardinals have no cap space so they won’t be tempted to sign bad contracts. (See, glass half full)

  6. macjacmccoy says: Mar 7, 2017 10:27 AM

    So the guy who doesn’t want a combine for amateurs now wants 1 for multi-year pros? Lol.

  7. theparadoxx82 says: Mar 7, 2017 10:52 AM

    ” This forces players who may know nothing about a team and teams that may know nothing about a player”

    Anyone that uninformed deserves what they get.

  8. getyourownname says: Mar 7, 2017 11:01 AM

    “This forces players who may know nothing about a team and teams that may know nothing about a player to engage in speed dating and even faster consummating.”

    Nothing forces anybody to do anything. It’s a choice. Some choose wisely; others do not. And you argue against yourself, admitting that “Even if the pre-free-agency period was longer, teams would still be rushing to get agents representing free agents to agree to terms quickly.” So it’s hard to know what your real point is.

    Finally why should we feel the need to “protect” players from being “forced” to sign big money contracts that set (or should set) their families for life? Most employers frequently set deadlines for employment offers to be accepted, offers that are hardly life changing. This is the real world.

  9. weepingjebus says: Mar 7, 2017 11:05 AM

    Did the Texans really hand a huge contract and the reins to their offense to a QB that they had not even met? How is that possible?

  10. purplepride11 says: Mar 7, 2017 11:14 AM

    Can players announce that they have aggreed to terms with a team or do they have to wait until thursday when FA officially opens?

  11. lingsun54 says: Mar 7, 2017 11:37 AM

    It’s not just players who are under pressure to agree quickly. Teams are under pressure too.

    There’s pressure on teams to fill holes. Guys that won’t agree quickly will be passed up for guys who will. It’s just the nature of free agency.

  12. The Dangerous Kitchen says: Mar 7, 2017 12:31 PM

    blowfishes says:
    Mar 7, 2017 9:05 AM
    Why make ‘pre-free-agency’ longer? There shouldn’t be pre-free-agency at all.

    It’s only because the League couldn’t get teams or agents in line that they decided to have this negotiate but not sign period in the first place.
    _________________________

    The thing is, illegal tampering is still just as rampant. No matter where they set the line there will be guys looking to get a jump on it.

  13. newsretorter says: Mar 7, 2017 1:02 PM

    “Did the Texans really hand a huge contract and the reins to their offense to a QB that they had not even met? How is that possible?”

    ———————––—————————————————–

    A delicate blend of self-imposed, unwarranted panic and colossal stupidity of the highest order.

    That’s how.

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