If you’re a little confused about all the reported deals over the last couple days between free agents and new teams, you’re not alone — the three-day “legal tampering” period prior to free agency is supposed to allow teams to negotiate with agents of prospective free agents without any offers being made or agreements being reached.
Of course, teams have long ignored those guidelines, but typically they at least maintain the pretense that they’re waiting until Tuesday afternoon, with a flood of contract agreements hitting the news wire when free agency begins at 3:00pm central time on Tuesday. This year, however, noteworthy free agents Ndamukong Suh, Jeremy Maclin, and Byron Maxwell all reportedly have deals with new teams already in place.
According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links), the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams expressing its displeasure with the release of contract terms prior to the official start of free agency. According to Getlin’s source, the league intends to conduct an investigation to examine whether teams agreed to terms with free agents early.
Considering the leaks on new deals seem to affect so many teams around the league, it seems unlikely that the NFL would come down too hard on everyone. If anything, the situation may be the push the league needs to modify its rules for free agency. In the NBA, for instance, teams and players are allowed to reach verbal agreements during the league’s “July moratorium,” which lasts a little over a week, but those signings can’t be made official until after the moratorium lifts. A system like that could make sense for the NFL.
As we wait to see how the NFL plans to address potential free agency violations, here’s more from around the NFL on free agents and free-agents-to-be:
- The Buccaneers, Bengals, Seahawks, and Patriots are all in the running for edge defender Jabaal Sheard, according to Getlin (via Twitter). Sheard is viewed as a better fit for a 4-3 team, which could give those first three suitors an edge over the Pats.
- A source tells Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link) that the Eagles are showing “a little bit” of interest in cornerback Tramon Williams. Despite having reached a tentative agreement with Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia remains on the lookout for another corner and perhaps a safety as well.
- Speaking of those Eagles, Andrew Brandt of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link) hears that the team was “hovering just below” $10MM annually on its final offer to Jeremy Maclin, which allowed the Chiefs to make a move on the wideout. Maclin will reportedly get about $11MM per year from Kansas City.
- The Broncos have displayed interest in free agent center Chris Myers, a source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link). This comes as no surprise, considering Myers excelled in Gary Kubiak‘s zone-blocking scheme for years in Houston.
- Elsewhere on the center front, former Raider Stefen Wisniewski is on the Bears‘ radar, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. While Chicago has expressed interest in Wisniewksi, it’s not clear how serious that interest is, Biggs notes.
- The Vikings have an offer out to quarterback Shaun Hill, but it’s unclear whether he’ll accept it, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
- The Packers maintain interest in bringing back defensive tackle Letroy Guion, despite his recent legal issues, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dunne points out that Guion, in the wake of his off-field troubles, may come cheaper than he otherwise would have.