Voiding deals done during three-day window would make no sense


The NFL has created an impractical system for acknowledging the rampant illegal tampering that happens prior to the launch of free agency.  The rules currently permit legal tampering via a three-day window for negotiations that cannot operate like actual negotiations, which necessarily entail the making of offers and the chance that the repeated exchange of offers will result in a consensus.

The league office doesn’t like the fact that multiple tentative deals were reached and reported over the weekend, which undermined the plan to showcase the signing frenzy via a major push from NFL-owned TV and Internet properties.  So the league is investigating specific teams (even though every team undoubtedly violated the goofy look-but-don’t-stare rules), and penalties could be imposed.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that it’s possible, but not likely, that the league will void any deals that were struck during the three-day window.  Hopefully, voiding deals isn’t likely because the powers-that-be realize that would be idiotic.

What happens if the NFL scuttles the record-breaking contract signed by Ndamukong Suh with the Dolphins, wiping clean his $60 million in fully-guaranteed compensation because the deal was finalized over the weekend?  Would the Dolphins be barred from signing him?  Or would they just do the deal again?

If it’s the former, the NFLPA justifiably would blow a gasket.  If it’s the latter — and if Suh gets a penny less — the NFLPA would justifiably blow a gasket.

It’s oddly logical that the NFL would consider an illogical remedy for the illogical permission of negotiation and prohibition of offers, but the consequence needs to fit the crime.  Exceeding the scope of the permitted negotiation period amounts to tampering.  Teams found guilty of tampering face fines and the loss of draft picks.

A true, complete, and fair investigation would find that most if not all teams exceeded the limits of the three-day window, and thus engaged in illegal tampering.  In lieu of casting a wide net, however, look for the NFL to find a sacrificial lamb that can be caught red handed and made to be an example for the other teams that will consider themselves lucky that they didn’t get caught, and that ideally won’t do it again for fear of being the unlucky one the next time around.

31 responses to “Voiding deals done during three-day window would make no sense

  1. How is possible to not violate this absurd rule? Is there a league anywhere that is dumber than the NFL? Any other sport would be bankrupt with these clowns calling the shots. Football only survives because we love it.

  2. Just let the 3 day window actually be a contract negotiation/offer period that until the 4PM official start of the next season begins is not official and can be rescinded by player or team……Let the fodder venue be enhanced, not stymied……..Teams/players that “leak” information would likely be causing more offers or rejections occur, which can only may the off season be more entertaining for me…..

  3. Bust the Doll-phins! Their cheesy scam to pretend their deal with Suh wasn’t complete until Wednesday was completely transparent. Make ’em give up a pick for their obvious manipulation. Fans of 31 other teams will rejoice in this justice. Do the right thing, NFL!!

  4. Given the recent history of fake scandles I bet the Patriots definitely didn’t break the illegal tampering rules.

    Therefore nothing will happen. Former Jet Goddell will look away from the Jets blatant tampering.

  5. Ok, this makes no sense, so it makes obvious sense that the NFL would do it….

  6. What team of 32, announced any information about any deal? How would a team benefit from speeding the process up?

    There some miss tweets from players (Gore/McBlount). But really, in this situation, the agents announcing deals benefits the most. The teams should not be investigated. The NFL hoped to make this a “lick the chops” build up to a rating massacre, but they think about the agents/social media to steal away the show.

  7. The Patriots are the de facto sacrificial lamb, but there’s no chance they even glanced toward a soon-to-be free agent during that window.
    The problem with this is that teams which want to abide by the letter of the rule by not talking hard numbers are at a disadvantage to those who have openly broken the rules that are fairly clear. Deals reported as done, and then turn out to be just as reported come Tuesday is clear evidence of rule breaking.
    Just 1 more thing for the league to tighten up.

  8. Nfl just seems to be collecting so many violations that they can’t get them addressed…. I’ve never seen so many outstanding issues yet to be resolved….WTF NFL???!!

  9. the only real team punishment on anything is draft picks, forfeiture of cap space, or suspending a marquee player.

    Make rules with the above in mind for teams, or forget about it altogether.

  10. 41chacha says:
    Mar 11, 2015 8:55 PM
    Unless it’s the Patriots nothing will happen.

    If it’s the Patriots nothing will happen.

  11. why would you even attempt to use the concept of logic, and utter “league office” or roger Goodell” in the same article? Cognitive dissonance.

  12. Please don’t make an example of the Eagles for signing Maxwell and fake signing Gore. They are already the laughing stock of the league after donating picks to the Rams.

  13. this is absurd, what did they expect would happen! I think they should limit negotiations to one player, during the 3 day period. if a second player is signed (or credible info is leaked), the team gets a 20% premium against the salary cap. the agent’s next player starts off with a 20% premium against the cap.

  14. Not one team said any deal was struck or even imminent. Zero. Agents and players tweeted stuff and reporters speculated. The closest one I remember was a report of Miami feeling confident in landing Suh.

    The NFL wants another cash cow in an absurd signing day. The problem is that the information getting out is what they really have a problem with, yet some of that info came from NFL paid reporters. Sanction them before going after any team.

    There really is no way to control it unless all that are privy to the “negotiating positions” are held accountable. That means fine the player, take a draft pick from the team and make the agent/agency basically persona non grata for a specified period of time. It also means agents could not discuss any positions with other teams and that effectively kills the intent of the 3 day period.

    The league needs to think things through better. If someone in a billion dollar business can gain an advantage from exploiting a loophole, they will. The league seems to only consider their desired outcome and then they need to jump in with silly accusations and threats when reasonable expectations that were never considered actually happen.

  15. Although youll notice that some teams were publicly good little children. I didnt hear the Bills, Seahawks, Packers or Patriots signing anyone in the tamper window.

  16. Why not give them the same salary cap penalties that they gave the skins and Cowboys? After all, those two teams were punished for breaking an unwritten “rule”. So if teams are breaking actual rules regarding the signing of players, it makes sense to punish them at least to equal levels.

  17. We know about 6 teams who will never be “sacrificial lambs” for Goodell. With that being said, it might be time to figure out which team it will be by process of elimination. Teams that have recently been sacrificial lambs include: Saints/bountygate, Ravens/Ray Rice, Vikings/A.Peterson, Browns, Skins/salary cap, Panthers/Hardy to name a few.

  18. Consider this: the NFL voids Suh’s deal with the Dolphins and Suh/NFLPA sues the NFL and Goodell jointly and severally considering the NFL has no evidence so far that Miami signed this guy prior to 4pm Tuesday and all of this is based on Chris
    Mortenson’s allegations that Miami sugned Suh prior to 4 pm Tuesday or maybe Suh’s own statements to someone…so the NFL will void a contract that the player wanted to sign and did sign NOT over the weekend but on Wednesday after FA started…again, with the only evidence that someone said this would happen and NO PROOF this someone was on the Dolphins? Not sure even Robert “GMO-foods” Kraft would go with this one!

  19. I don’t think the Lions agreed to any FA deal. As far as Suh, void the deal and let Miami redo it for one penny more; then the Union doesn’t have any complaint!
    I doubt there’s much chance of deterrence. You’re one of 32 teams; if you don’t get caught, you’ve gotten a good deal on some guy you really wanted. Once that happens, it’s a non-issue and you keep going until you get caught. If you get caught, you take it and move on; but in the meantime, you stock up on everybody you can.

  20. Why even have this stupid 3 day window? Announce a date when the season ends(read: contract ends, for example 4 Sundays after Super Bowl is played) and announce that say 4pm EST is when contracts can be signed.

  21. You know what would put a stop to the tampering? Fine and/or ban the agents for the players that obviously agreed in principle to deals before the 3 day window closed. The agents are the ones that more often than not leak the ‘Look what I got for this guy! You need to make ME your agent’ news. The window says you can basically express your interest, etc but no figures are supposed to be exchanged. The Suh deal, which was even almost completely leaked in detail before the end of the weekend is the most glaring example. The 49ers convincing Torrey Smith to sign to the point where he was announcing his goodbye before the weekend was over is another, etc.

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