The NFL’s legal tampering period is set to begin on Monday.
The 2023 NFL league year and the start of the NFL’s free agency period are set to begin on Wednesday, March 15th at 3:00 p.m. CT, but teams can start negotiations with pending free agents on Monday, March 13th beginning at 11:00 a.m. CT.
The legal tampering period is a two-day negotiating window, during which NFL teams can begin communicating with representation for pending free agents. This two-day window plays a large part in the annual spectacle that is NFL free agency because it helps determine where some of the bigger free agents will end up across the league.
There are a ton of different rules and regulations from the NFL surrounding what exactly the legal tampering period entails. Below you’ll find the various things teams can do and what they’re not allowed to do.
What you can do during the legal tampering period:
This period is only applicable to unrestricted free agents.
Teams can negotiate “all aspects of an NFL player contract” with a player’s representation.
Teams are allowed to negotiate directly with players, only if the player acts as their own representation.
What you can’t do during the legal tampering period:
Teams can’t talk to restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents during this two-day period.
Contracts can’t be executed or agreed to in principle during the legal tampering window.
Players can’t take team visits during this period or make travel arrangements for visits.
Contract announcements can’t be made by teams until the new league year begins on Wednesday.
Tampering violations can result in steep consequences for NFL teams. The Miami Dolphins don’t have a first-round draft pick this year as a result of tampering. Chiefs fans are certainly familiar with the harshest of possible consequences, back when the league determined they tampered with free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin back in 2016.
Chiefs fans have also seen the good side of the legal tampering period. Last season, for instance, the team added S Justin Reid during this time of the year. Really, it just allows teams to get a head start on the outside free agents they most covet. That includes teams who are looking at all of the Chiefs’ pending unrestricted free agents.
Brett Veach and his staff have a good amount of money to work with right now, projected with just under $15 million in cap space after the team tendered a contract offer to restricted free agent punter Tommy Townsend. That cap space will allow the team to be as active as they please during the legal tampering period and they even have a few ways to free up more ahead of the start of free agency. That includes a Chris Jones extension and a number of other contract-related restructures.