NFL Free Agency: Tampering Season Starts

Free Agency

Happy Tampering Day, NFL fans. The window for free agency negotiation opened at noon today. The NFL allows players who are unrestricted free agents to begin negotiating with other teams two days before the official free agency period opens on March 15th at noon.

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Tampering Day has evolved as a means of managing media narratives. Unrestricted free agents can only speak with the team they were on last season. If they’re curious about joining a different team, the communication has to go through their agent. The agent lines up potential suitors, and then ESPN starts announcing unofficial deals.

The next couple of days will be ripe with rumors and renegotiations. Let’s see who will be making a big splash.

Teams That Are Set Up Well for Free Agency

There are two ways to approach NFL free agency. Some teams go for a big splash and throw money at big free agents. Others use their draft capital to go over players on other teams.

The Bears, Falcons, Raiders, and Texans are the teams that have the most available cap space. Rumors have already been flying that these teams are making moves. The Bears could be bolstering their offensive and defensive line. The Raiders might be acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo to fill the quarterback void left by Derek Carr’s departure.

Other teams use the tampering period to use draft capital and cap space to create big trade deals. Trades appear out of nowhere, much like the Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins news.

Big Free Agency Period for Certain Players

Free agency has a team-based view, but the meat of this time of year is the players and where they’re going.

The most interesting free-agent situations of the off-season are both at the quarterback position. Aaron Rodgers is supposed to be on the way to the New York Jets, duplicating Brett Favre’s career path. The other intriguing quarterback situation is Lamar Jackson.

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, has spent all last season negotiating with the Ravens to get a fully guaranteed contract on the level of Russell Wilson & Deshaun Watson. The Ravens didn’t budge and have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson.

That means that other teams can offer Jackson a contract. The Ravens would then have the ability to match offers from other teams. If the Ravens let Lamar Jackson go, the team who signed him would compensate the Ravens with two first-round picks.

Today was the first day of the tampering period. The second day should have even more intriguing rumors, potential new homes for familiar faces. The start of the next NFL season has begun. We’ll be back to football before we know it!


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