Welcome To Legal Tampering Season

It is now the eighth day of March in 2014, meaning that the beginning of free agency in the NFL is just three days away. That also means that NFL teams, beginning at noon, will be able to openly negotiate with certified player agents—or players who represent themselves—on contracts, though those contracts cannot be executed until the official beginning of free agency on March 11 at 4 PM.

That’s right: at noon today, it will officially be legal tampering season.

Players set to hit free agency remain under contract with their 2013 teams until 4 PM on Tuesday, and it’s deemed tampering for teams to openly discuss interest in players employed by another team.

That is until recently when this three-day window was created, retroactively vindicating the illegal tampering that has been going on between teams and players unofficially for—well, probably for the entire history of the league.

Up until noon, only the Steelers can officially talk shop with their own pending free agents, many of whom they would like to re-sign, including wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, defensive lineman Al Woods, and running back Jonathan Dwyer.

Of course, they can still work out a deal with these players at any point. Noon just means everybody can negotiate contracts with them as well. Only the Steelers, however, can complete that contract until Tuesday evening.

The Steelers were active at this time last year, using this window to sign a few of their own, including, if I recall correctly, Larry Foote, Plaxico Burress, and Ramon Foster. Of course, two of those don’t figure to be on the team this year. Foote was released just recently and Burress will be a free agent.

The front office certainly hasn’t been silent up to this point, releasing three players, extending two, and restructuring another, but they did sign one of their own unrestricted free agents so far to this point.

The team has yet to announce it officially, but they appear to have re-signed safety Will Allen, according to the player’s agent. He played a vital role as the dime safety over the last two months of the season.

The Steelers have three more days to get their house in order before they start worrying about raiding the houses of others in search of other teams’ unrestricted free agents, which, for once, they appear to be in a position to do.

Before that happens, however, they still have some salary cap space to clear, and likely want to sign a few more of their own before Tuesday to give them a better picture of their needs among free agents and leading up to the draft. This legal tampering period is a good time to find out what’s available elsewhere before running the risk of losing their own.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.


    I see something good happening in Free Agency………….

  • cp72

    I really am hoping we take a run at Dexter McCluster. We need a returner that can change field position. He can also play some receiver and can be 3rd down back.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Don’t expect much early, as per normal operating procedure. Lots of teams have lots of money, and the first round of signings are filled with teams way overpaying FA’s. The Steelers are smart enough to let things quiet down later, then when the 2nd tier of signings begin, the relative prices seems to come down.

    That’s usually when they pounce finding a couple of useful players. Also, they still have their own to sign, like Cotchery, Al Woods (I really want this guy on the team), Dwyer, etc.

    Also, there seems to be a long list of D linemen that are FA’s, so they might be able to find one that is more than capable later. CB’s are aplenty out there, but the good ones will be way too expensive.

    RB’s are usually a dime a dozen. And they better have more than 1 guy this upcoming year that can return kicks, because last year Felix was the least explosive KR I have ever seen. Theses guys should be had very inexpensively.

  • shawn

    i like the guys in the draft better … and they will be much cheaper

  • Rob

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we break tradition and either sign raji or Byrd. We need and actual impact starter. No more Sean mahan’s

  • Brian K

    Man, while I know it is almost 100% unlikely, it would be awesome if they could sign Darren Sproles! That would be a dynamic addition to Bell and for Haley.

  • cp72

    And a lot less proven

  • dkoy85

    Byrd and Polamalu would be awesome together!

  • joed32

    Byrd will probably get the biggest contract of all of the FAs.

  • cencalsteeler

    Very true. Most FA’s coming out of the gate are B rated players seeking A rated money. The Steelers usually let the madness settle down before logically making a move.

  • Brian Miller

    Yep, I expect the Eagles to be big players for him.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Out of our league moneywise. But, holy crap, Does Byrd make a lot of plays. Just the turnovers the guy creates would be great.

  • Callentown

    I just can’t believe Andy Reid will let him go. But man….that would be a great signing!

  • Callentown

    I was thinking the same thing. I wonder what price he will garner..

  • AndyR34

    But don’t you know…anybody that is drafted has way more ‘upside’ than anyone who’s upside is already proven! 🙂

  • Brian K

    I imagine he’ll be considered a top RB option. If I had to guess, and I have no idea what backs go for, if say $6 million min?

  • Tom Bridge

    No chance! he’d be cheaper than that, he’ll be 31 by the time the season starts probably gets some one offering 2.5-3mil a yr he’d be a nice compliment though

  • Rosco

    Im just hoping the Browns dont get him

  • Brian K

    Well see that’s why I said I had no idea! Lol. He still performs. He’d still be a great asset I think.