NFL Strikes Out On Highly Anticipated Tampering Window


Mar 3, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; A general view of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center during kicker tryouts. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For fans of the NFL, today it surely does stand for “No Fun League”.  After weeks even months of anticipation the NFL has slammed closed the door to it’s three day negotiating window by taking the fans out of the process.  

When the NFL and the NFLPA signed a new CBA a three day “tampering” window was included to allow teams to negotiate but not sign impending free agents.  The idea was an attempt to both curb the inevitable off-season tampering leading to the start of free agency, make teams make a decision on their veteran players futures a little early, and drum up even more hype into the flea-market mania known as the league new year.

Up until last week it appeared that the NFL had hit yet another home run.  Interest in the start of the three day period peaked to a frenzy as fans and journalists alike stayed up into the wee hours waiting for the first juicy nuggets of what teams would be looking at what players ahead of the free agent start on Tuesday 4:00 pm.  Instead, the NFL slammed down the idea with a league distributed memo that all but put the clamps down on teams doing anything at all.

NFL teams could negotiate deals with players for three day but could not speak to the player, work out the player, or host him for a visit.  All contact had to strictly be between the team and the agent.  It was a foregone conclusion that “agreements in principal” would be widely reported and at the very least the nuggets of rumors would make the California gold rush look like a trip to a backyard stream.  In other words, there should have been so much information today that free agency could have become as big (well not quite) as the draft in April.

Teams however have been told via the memo that at no time are they to agree to any contract and that doing so is in violation of the rules, even though by the wording in the CBA they are not.  Teams have been instructed to not even breath about deals.  Thus, the NFL has put a muzzle on the NFL and the fans are suffering today.  What should have been a busy day has turned out to be just another day before free agency.

The NFL has been rumored to have interest in a “signing day” type event similar to that of the college signing day.  A free agent apparently will sit at a table and pick a hat from a group of five while everyone sits on pins and needles in anticipation?  Sorry, not only is that a joke but come on, do we really expect teams to be sitting around waiting for a guy to pick a hat?  What happens if they are not selected?  Did they lose out on the other guy that is waiting his turn at the table?  Is this going to be the NFL’s version of Lebron James’ the decision?

Stupid.  Today, the NFL could easily have allowed wandering eyes to focus their attention on the league.  Drum up some juicy gossip stories and rumors and let it run.  Instead we get the silence that this new “3 day window” means nothing more than something that could have been talked about.