NFL threatens to investigate violations of negotiating-period rules

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Ted Wells is gonna need a bigger retainer.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT that the league has advised teams that potential violations of the rules regarding the three-day negotiating period will be investigated via memo sent Monday.

“The memo makes clear that we will look into any potential violations of the rules,” Aiello said.

The question becomes how will the NFL look into potential violations?  Starting with the Sunday news that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will sign with the Dolphins, the floodgates opened, with multiple teams linked to multiple players.

Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell has said he’s going to Philly.  So is running back Frank Gore.  Meanwhile, Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin reportedly is going to the Chiefs.

The list goes on and on, with plenty of teams doing exactly what the annual list of pre-free agency “thou shalt nots” says they shalt not do.

While it’s impossible for negotiations to not result in offers and, in turn, contracts, the league’s goal is discretion.  In past years, teams have indeed been discreet.

This year, the only news that got out on Saturday involved players staying with current teams (which is permissible).  As of Sunday, all hell broke loose.

It’s highly unlikely that the NFL will sic Wells on most of the league’s franchises for phone records and text messages and emails that would demonstrate offers were made and deals were done when teams and agents were supposed to be simply negotiating.  The more likely goal of the memo is to get teams to go back to the days when we knew offers were being made and deals were being done.

We just didn’t know who and where and for how much.

126 responses to “NFL threatens to investigate violations of negotiating-period rules

  1. It’s a good thing Fidel Goodell is on top of this. As a side note, he also denied ever viewing the Ray Rice video.

  2. Goodall can’t do a darn thing right. When you allow teams to speak w/ FA’s, of course offers are going to take place, duh!

  3. Please..

    Goodall, go find something else to do. You opened this window so illegal stuff is going to happen. It shouldn’t have been structured like this at all.

    So shut up and go away Goodall. The fans are tired of hearing or seeing you.

  4. I’m sorry. But how can the NFL be upset when it’s own network and Twitter account are reporting on these so called “unapproved deals”?

  5. It is simple once Suh signs with the Dolphins they will be investigated for breaking the negotiating period rules and for tampering with a player of another club. Look for the Dolphins to ship a pick or two to Detroit before the draft.

    I also expect the same for the Maxwell and the Eagles sending picks to Seattle.

    It is simple that you can not offer a contract and it appears both the Eagles and Dolphins broke the rules and now they can give up picks for it.

  6. The Commish should turn a blind eye to this as it is little more than mega tons of free publicity.

  7. Pfffttttt……They’ll simply just wait until the Pats are the team doing it and start a tamper-gate against the mean evil Hoodie like they always do.

  8. Well, this is what they get for calling it “Legal Tampering”.

    NFL = No Freakin Logic … to anything they say or do

  9. The NFL appears a bit out of touch with reality. If you allow teams to discuss contracts, wouldn’t the assumption be that teams would come to an agreement at some point? If the league doesn’t want the news publicly announced until Tuesday then make a rule saying so. Another example of the league making things up as it goes along and being unprepared for the consequences of its own actions.

  10. I am sure this is somehow Patriots’ and Belichick’s fault. Someone should ask the front offices of the Colts and Jets how the Pats are responsible for this.

  11. Perhaps a strongly worded letter will do the trick, Roger, because that’s about as effective as those high priced and PR stunt “investigations” by Meuller and Wells.

  12. Negotiations end either when a side says they are out or you reach an agreement (aka deal). Neither agent or team will risk getting a bad wrap by backing out at that point. I always thought this legal tampering period was stupid.

  13. Why is this 3 day “legal tampering” period even a thing? Seems like all this could be avoided if they just made teams wait until the official free agency date. You’re basically asking for some kind of illegal tampering when you give people a “legal tampering” period.

  14. So… pray tell, what exactly are agents and teams supposed to be doing during this time period? They ‘negotiate’ but it can’t be an actual offer and can’t be official until Tuesday. But if a team was submitting an offer and skipped out on it, players wouldn’t ever trust them and they’d be unable to secure free agents.

    The rules are set up so that teams have to disobey them. They shouldn’t be sorry that Twitter masks a mockery of outdated rules.

  15. You are allowed to “negotiate”. Can anyone explain how you negotiate without repeatedly exchanging offers?

  16. “NFL threatens to investigate violations of negotiating-period rules and release the findings within 5 years.”

  17. Uh huh sounds great Goodell. You can start with Woody Johnson and the Jets for blatantly tampering with Revis during the playoffs.

  18. The period for appearing to be in control began at midnight, however, the posturing and bluster cannot become official until 4:00pm on Thursday.

  19. Let’s form a committee to investigate the investigators to ensure team compliance

  20. This makes my head hurt. What on earth did the league think was going on during this period?

    House tours from local real estate agents?

    Chamber of Commerce presentations?

    Tours of each city’s historical sites?

    Pub Crawls with potential FAs?

    Seriously, stop passing rules you know will be ignored. You’re causing more disrespect for authority than the 55 mph speed limit.

  21. Wait the integrity of the sport is at stake …

    As mentioned, if New England isn’t part of this mess, then where’s the problem.

    Let’s see how many more owners Roger can P-Off, he can almost see the pink slip coming !

  22. Goodell and his regime needs to go. It’s just another case of changing the rules, letting a lot get by, and then everything getting out of control. A legal tampering period? Seriously? There is no question that they should change the name of the Draft Combine to “Beginning of the Illegal Tampering/Cheating Period”. Oh, and if the Patriots were involved with this, we know there would be a #*****Gate attached to this. Bozos.

  23. “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.”

    So, what’s the issue here? It appears that players/teams are basically allowed to do everything but sign on the dotted line before Tuesday…

  24. I am sure if it were the Patriots everyone would be screaming for an ‘investigation’. How about the moronic Jets owner openly coveting Revis who technically is not even a free agent yet. Will the league step up or because it is a NY team will they turn the other cheek.

  25. I guess he will have to fine every team an 8th round draft pick. LOL! What the heck did Goodell expect with this assinine 3 day semi free agent period.

  26. What about when the owner of a team openly and publicly declares his team is interested in another player on another team in the middle of the season? Are they ever going to “investigate” that?

    *cough* *jets-revis* *cough*

  27. Jerry Jones said he wanted the child abuser (on his team in the future) last year… Investigate that when he signs with the Cowturds!

  28. What cracks me up is everyone knows this goes on. That being said, is it truly something that should be investigated just because a couple of players announced where they are going?

    Goodell is a joke. He should concentrate more on the things that actually matter instead of worrying about things that don’t affect anything one way or the other.

  29. Judging by how long the investigation into deflategate is taking, these guys will be long retired before the NFL concludes this investigation.

  30. Another NFL investigation? Hide the women and children! Big deal. They are really, really bad at it. I’m pretty sure the Patriots are behind all of this….after all, they are the only team that wins consistently. Goodell and the NFL are deteriorating.

  31. It’s not the Patriots so the NFL offices and fans of the other 31 teams won’t care.

  32. Tampering Truth : If the Jets sign Darrelle Revis, the Patriots will ask for a first round pick in return.

  33. Imma let you finish but Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, the Patriots, Falcons and Browns had the best investigations of all time!

  34. This decision is almost as dumb as years ago, when they allowed the holder of the first pick of the draft to negotiate a contract prior to making the official pick on draft day. Then having the dummy walk out to the podium to announce the pick when everyone already knew the pick.

    Why can’t they make it simple by waiting until the official start of free agency? What difference will a few extra days make?

  35. take away several future draft choices, franchise tags and fines equivalent to the size of contract signed by the free agent they cheated to get….

  36. Easy fix to this. Eliminate the stupid 3 day window. Just start free agency at the designated time. Theres literally no point to the 3 day window.

  37. First there was tampering. Now, there’s pre-tampering, before the tampering period.

    What’s next?…An investigation of the Wells’ investigation?

    We need a rules committee to set some rules up to which the rules committee is held accountable.

    According to Godell, you can count on someone being accountable for accountability.

  38. Wait, so the owners, who hired the joes in the NFL office really care that their own teams are conducting business like this? No. This isn’t one rogue GM, this is a multitude if not ALL of the teams participating. Nothing is going to happen. These guys are free agents who had no intention of staying with their teams.

  39. The NFL is sitting on a gold mine. Rather than this “legal tampering” or the official start of free agency; where it’s all “sources say…”; it should be a reality TV show. Let’s do the exact OPPOSITE of discretion: put it all in the open

    Bring ALL free agents and ALL teams’ GMs and coaches and run an auction style fantasy “draft”. Let the bidding be in the open for the entire cable/satellite world to see on the NFL Network, sponsored by Miller Lite (or whatever), of course.

    That would be far more entertaining than the draft. Think about the Commish uttering these words: “Next up for bid: Ndomukong Suh”. And then all hell breaks loose.

  40. rcosborne59 says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:47 AM
    …How about the moronic Jets owner openly coveting Revis who technically is not even a free agent yet. Will the league step up or because it is a NY team will they turn the other cheek.

    Goodell and Kensil will probably try to find a way to fine the Patriots and take away Patriots draft picks because the Jets owner openly tampered with Revis. There is no way the Jets (or Colts for that matter) will ever suffer any consequences for their continuing to ignore NFL rules under the culture of cheating and whining those two organizations have fostered for years as long as Goodell and Kensil are NFL executives.

  41. The NFL will investigate the tampering issue as long as it doesn’t involve the Patriots, Steelers, Giants, Ravens or Packers. Every other team has been put on notice …

  42. 5hrs and 45 min. into a 6hr trip, an NFL spokesman was quoted “Don’t make me turn this car around!”
    Investigate and find nothing. “Did you and Maxwell’s agent agree on a deal?
    “well ok, then.”

  43. Did the league office honestly think that everything would remain confidential?? Roger, worry about inflation of footballs and inconsistent officiating!!!

  44. Sabre rattle all you want NFL, your the biggest violator of your own rule. Sit down NFL, this is the teams and fans time, stop crashing the party.

  45. skawh says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:57 AM

    How about resolving the Pat’s investigation instead. Cheaters!
    Takes time to turn over every rock, find nothing, prepare the report, make a plan for responding to every dolt who will always believe the Pats cheated. On second thought, release the report because it won’t matter to those who are blinded with jealousy.

  46. Knowing the Colts, Ryan Grigson has probably been dressed up as a riding mower and parked in Revis’ garage for the past week.

  47. The league is being stupid on this one in order to protect the ridiculous idea of potentially profiting from a ‘signing day’. Negotiations are goal-centric. They progress towards an agreement by their very nature. There are only two possible outcomes. The negotiate end with no deal or an agreement is reached The only stipulation is they are non-binding until Tuesday. Some teams have been able to use the information to rework their offers and resign their own players and other teams can shift focus to other targets. The players, agents and teams all know the potential happenings and the league is upset because they can’t control the info. We only know based on reports. The league can’t squeeze every cent out of the fans or sponsors when the info is free. We should all be mad at the league’s mentality here.

  48. Goodell will soon announce the new comedy show, “NFL Keystone Kops’.

    The pilot was a great success.

  49. THE NFL Executive Office has announced, that they have video of a PATRIOTS P/T employee disappearing into the mens room with all of the official NFL Clocks, and then seen exiting some 90 seconds later. Speculation is that he somehow manipulated Time.
    Goodell is bringing in the Crew from Big bang Theory and Stephen Hawking to determine if BB and the Patriots staff somehow, manipulated dark matter and altered time to gain a competitve advantage,,,,this story is being reported by both Florio and other sources,,as proof that Patriots are exploiting the NFL RULES.

  50. I’m a Browns fan. I think they should investigate the Browns for not recognizing QB talent when they see it. Actually, they should investigate all 32 teams for something. They’re close to that now. Our GM could be in charge of texting updates to Goodell.

  51. Of COURSE there won’t be any investigating. The Patriots aren’t on the list of potential “suspects”, so there’s little existing venom to demand reparations.

  52. This is so moronic. If you have rules, enforce them. If you don’t want to enforce them, why have the rules?

    Essentially, the “three day legal tampering” period just means that all the secret negotiations start prior to that period now. How can the NFL possibly stop it?

    When there’s millions of dollars involved, people are gonna do what they’re gonna do. And by “people”, I mean “agents”, most of whom would step on their mother to make an extra buck.

    I’m sure Suh and his agent are shaking in their boots.

  53. Who would think they would talk money and contract offers? I figured these 3 days were more to discuss the weather, celebrity gossip, and current world events.

  54. I just feel embarrassed for Roger now. Guessing Kraft & Mara complained given it’s division rivals making news and this is his attempt at repairing the relationship.

  55. Unless some team has accused the Patriots of tampering, there will be no investigation. There will be no punishments for any team…unless they can somehow tie in the Pats. Any accusation will suffice, true or not.
    Jets, Miami, no worries for them.

  56. Just like they investigated Jerry Jones for tampering with Adrian Peterson?….

    Yeah— The league really gets tough on this type of stuff. (Rolling my eyes)

  57. Dock them 36 million in cap space and call it a day. That’s what we usually do right?

  58. That’s funny, Woody Johnson has been virtually stalking Revis for several months and the NFL has said nothing on the subject.

    The Patriots, Saints, Ravens, Vikings, and Titans have had the NFL come down hard on them for various violations but the Jets seem to get a pass. Why is that?

  59. Miami calls Suh:

    “So uhh, stomped anyone lately?”

    I mean, what else WOULD they talk about? Talk about sticking your head in the sand, NFL.

  60. Juxtapose the fines Marshawn Lynch gets with how these teams that tamper get a pass.

    What is most egregious about the Revis tampering is that he isn’t even a pending free agent. He’s under contract for 2015 and the Jets intentionally attempted to interfere with the Patriots ability to execute an extension/restructure of his contract.

  61. Typical NFL. Throw out an absurd rule that no one follows and that which the league doesn’t enforce. Then, once every team in the league is breaking the rule, pick one team to take to the woodshed over it. It’s like if the state police pulled over one motorist for speeding each day and then executed him for it. Goodell has to go.

  62. So in 6 months the independent investigation will find no evidence of wrong doing.

    When you threaten people with investigations and come back with zero results you create an continued impression of lacking integrity.

    Name an investigation by the NFL that has come back with any result of a punishment since Bountygate.

  63. Why did I laugh when I read “NFL threatens to investigate violations of negotiating-period rules”. Should anyone other than Adrian Peterson be scared?

  64. Simple solution, you can negotiate with any free agent after last game played but can only sign them a few days after the SB or another designated period. Don’t need to make $40 million a year and have a degree in law to figure that out…..

  65. bottom line….get rid of this 3 day whatever you want to call it…..let free agency start on the 10th, and the mayhem that will follow…..much more exciting than a bunch of leaks.

  66. Goodell makes things way to complicated and is way overpaid. The NFL is popular because of the game and I would like to think Goodell means well but to many things he does don’t make any sense at all.

  67. “The memo makes clear that we will look into any potential violations of the rules,” Aiello said.
    ANY potential violations? Yeah, right. The only investigations will be of teams whose owners haven’t publicly declared that RG1 is God. And since Jerry Richardson is one of RG1’s personal towel boys, I fear no reprecussions of Michael Oher and Ted Ginn already signing their contracts with the Panthers.

  68. Just as free agency begins, at that very moment that it does, it’ll will be announced that AZ has traded for Peterson. Of course, no rules were broken. Then again all that AZ and MN talked about was if AD liked anchovies on his pizza. Or was it, AZ GM:”If you give me your extra large pizza with everything on it Rick, I will give you my large pizza.” Rick Spielman: “I don’t think so. I’ll trade my pizza for one of your large ones, plus 2 medium, and one small”. AZ GM: “I think we have a deal. Good doing business with you Rick”.

  69. So all teams got the memo and subsequently violated it.

    Goodell, will you now strip these violators of first round picks and $500K fine?

    Double standard much?


  70. This is driven by two realities. One, agents want to cut deals quickly while teams are flush with cash and have not gone in another direction. Two, teams fall in love with a guy and want to sign him up before another team does.

    It is very hard to legislate against that type of behavior. Like a marriage, another women doesn’t steal your husband if he doesn’t want to leave.

    The NFL should focus on the most obtrusive and public tampering cases. The Jets (Revis) and the Dolphins (Suh) are two of the more public and egregious.

  71. If this was the Patriots everyone would be on here screaming & crying about it… Now that their teams are looking guilty it’s no big deal & the media turns a blind eye…. What a bunch of hypocrites you all are!!!
    I have come to the full & accurate conclusion that as long as it’s not the Patriots it’s ok to do things that actually effect a level playing field…
    What a joke!!!

  72. Here’s a simple solution, if a “proposed deal” is announced prior to the start of the actual free-agency period, then the league voids the “proposed deal” and the team is not allowed to re-negotiate with the player. Not only will that stop leaks from teams who don’t want to lose the players they may have potentially landed, but it also will stop leaks from players as they could end up losing millions of dollars depending on the difference between the winning offer and the next one. That said, the league created this mess when they created the 3 day legal tampering period. I don’t recall deals being announced prior to free-agency before.

  73. jgedgar70 says:
    Mar 9, 2015 1:22 PM
    …And since Jerry Richardson is one of RG1’s personal towel boys, I fear no reprecussions of Michael Oher and Ted Ginn already signing their contracts with the Panthers.

    Oher and Ginn were both released by their former teams and, once released, any team in the NFL was allowed to speak with them and their agents and work out a deal. No rules were broken with Oher and Ginn.

  74. I been doing my research on this and u will be shocked what u can find. Football teams can announce signings if they are a URFA but if they are a RFA they have to wait till the new NFL year if they don’t then they can be investigated for tampering

    So does it even matter if gt he players who are free agents with out a contact can sign with other teams

    So here is my reply


  75. To be honest; nothings actually changed in actual FA negotiation practice…..only the relaxing by all about what amount of information to leak/provide to reporters and the social media……The NFL is hoping that everyone will go back to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” when deals are made outside the time period allowed………The new grace period has backfired and caused everyone (Agents, Players and Teams) to relax and the press core to dig harder and it has gotten out of hand……

    Now what to do about it?????? I haven’t heard anyone with proposed solutions……..

  76. …deflatedfootballs says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:23 AM

    Let finish a couple investigations before You start another one.

    CSI – NFL

    Theme song: Magic Bus

  77. The problem about Jeremy maclin. Everybody new he was going to sign with the chiefs because I think he was done playing for chip Kelly

    So why does it even matter. If the NFL has such a problem with it then they need to change the rules where football teams can’t contact agents before the new football year

  78. Miami about to sign the biggest name free agent since Reggie White and NFL shakes a finger at teams. Had Detroit signed a player from another team the League would have come down hard on them without warning. Such is life as a crappy team in the NFL.

  79. Remember before the rules changes when Miami signed Justin Smiley 17 minutes after free agency started? Funny how they’re still cheating.

  80. How do you tell teams to talk contract deals and then when they do threaten to punish them for doing it. Weird.

  81. OK. Where are all comment that these teams are cheating? Wait, I got it. Patriots aren’t involved cause it’s ok to cheat when you’re a losing team.

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