USA TODAY Sports
The NFL, for the first time, has opened a period of three days of "legal tampering," giving players and agents a chance to enter into negotiations prior to the start of free agency on Tuesday. The thought was the time would be filled with rumors and leaks of teams talking to certain players. It's not working out that way.
This cannot be what the NFL wants, right? This is the league, in an effort to always be making money, that has floated the idea of lengthening the offseason schedule to make sure there is one big even in each month until June. This is the league that changed the draft from a two day affair into a three day, prime time event. So, when the league opened a new 72 hour negotiating window prior to the start of free agency, a kind of soft opening, the thought was, the time would be filled with rumors and speculation. Instead, it's been quiet.
The league sent out a memo yesterday, reminding teams that they cannot reach deals with players, either signed or oral agreements. They cannot talk to a player, only his "certified representation," and that they cannot announce the non-deal they have made.
So, basically, the league is allowing back door phone calls to be made, and doesn't want anyone to know about them. Then, what's the point of the 72 hour negotiating window?
If you let the rumors leak, fans will get worked up. People will be interested in the NFL. ESPN will be all over every single possible story, and Adam Schefter's phone might explode.
Instead, we have silence.
Which, as Miami Dolphins fans, we should have expected. The Dolphins lock the doors and silence everyone better than most teams. The best way to know when the Dolphins are working on a deal with someone - or in this case, working on not making a deal - is that all noise out of Davie stops. Suddenly the beat writers can't reach their sources, and the world around the Dolphins goes silent.
All around the NFL right now, that seems to be the case. Sources aren't talking to reporters, reporters don't have anything more than they had last week, and the rumors that are circulating, are the same ones we've all already heard (Reggie Bush to the Detroit Lions? Sean Smith to the Chiefs or Eagles?).
There are a few reports of phone calls being made, but so far, it's a silent time around the NFL. Teams are hard at work trying to work out deals that won't be deals until Tuesday. Fans are all hoping to hear a great rumor.
And the NFL has to be trying to figure out a way to get more hype around its new tampering period.