How to Safely Tackle the Legal Tampering Window

March 24, 2016
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legal tampering windowWhat’s the deal with the legal tampering window?

Free agents and their representation negotiate through a two-day period in early March just before the start of free agency called the legal tampering window. Brief as the 48-hour stretch is, it is important to the league as well as football players and their agents.

The legal tampering window is the two-day period before free agency actually begins, during which unrestricted free agents and their representation can begin negotiating with teams. It is the stretch where players and organizations can begin feeling out potential matches ahead of actual free agency. Newsday writer Tom Rock went as far as comparing the legal tampering window to the popular dating app, Tinder.

What’s allowed during the legal tampering window?

During the negotiating period, NFL teams are allowed to negotiate all of the provisions of a players’ contract with unrestricted free agents’ representation. However, that is about all they can do. Unrestricted free agents and teams are not allowed to execute contracts until free agency actually begins. This year that was on March 9 at 4 p.m. So, while teams and players’ agents can work out the potential structure of a contract, that is about as far as they are allowed to go.

Many NFL players will eventually experience the legal tampering window when they become unrestricted free agents following four or more years in the league. It is important to understand the rules governing the legal tampering window before it opens, so that players and their agents don’t accidentally violate them.

For more information on the legal tampering window and other issues pertaining to free agency, speak with an experienced sports law attorney for more information.

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