The NFL's three-day negotiating window leading into free agency has remained a subject of debate.
With talks scheduled to start Saturday at midnight ET, it was suggested we were in for activity ranging from total silence to an utter circus. A memo from the league office points to the former.
NFL.com's Albert Breer obtained communication from the NFL threatening teams with possible tampering investigations if they enter into agreements with free agents prior to Tuesday's open-market launch.
The league clarifies in writing that any deals -- in any form -- are not allowed prior to the start of free agency.
It was widely assumed that this three-day period was put in place for exactly that. The phrase "legal tampering" became a household word (in some households, at least), but the NFL has seemingly poured cold water on this weekend's adventures.
That doesn't mean agents and players won't continue to talk. They've been doing that for weeks -- anyone who went anywhere in Indianapolis during the NFL Scouting Combine can attest to that.
Anyway, here's the memo obtained by Breer:
TO: General Managers
Player Personnel Directors
FROM: Commissioner Goodell
DATE: March 8, 2013
SUBJECT: Impermissible Activity During the Three-day Negotiating Period for Unrestricted Free Agents
Clubs were advised in PP-26-13 that during the three-day negotiating period for prospective Unrestricted Free Agents, they are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2012 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 12, and that no contract can be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 12.
Clubs are further advised that prior to the beginning of the new League Year it is impermissible for a club to enter into an agreement of any kind, express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent or understandings of any kind concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to, or to be offered to, any prospective Unrestricted Free Agent for inclusion in a Player Contract after the start of the new League Year. Any announcement of an agreement or an agreement in principle by a club or another party, including, but not limited to, a certified agent, player, or media organization may subject the club to a tampering investigation.
Please contact the Player Personnel department if you have any questions