The NFL offseason is preparing to get into full swing with the start of the free agency legal tampering period.
Technically, it was illegal for any team to contact a player with an expiring contract prior to Monday morning, Eastern Standard Time. NFL executives decided to implement the “legal tampering” in order to prevent the rampant “illegal tampering,” which is still prevalent in NFL front offices despite the league’s efforts.
Players cannot be contacted directly until Wednesday, when the free agency signing period actually begins. However, teams can contact players’ agents in order to negotiate deals or gauge interest.
Basically, from Monday until Wednesday, it is possible for a team to have the contract for a new signing drawn up and documented on their end, but the player will not be able to actually officially join the team until the official start of the free agency period.
Players that were released from their contracts are not included in this period, hence Richard Sherman being able to sign his contract with the San Francisco 49ers over the weekend preceding free agency.
Not much other than rumors of interest from various teams happened on the first day of the tampering period, with the most notable story coming out of New Orleans byway of Minneapolis.
The Vikings have allegedly reached out to veteran Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has yet to sign an extension with the team. Some pundits and fans have speculated that the future Hall of Fame QB may leave as New Orleans transitioned to a run-heavy offense last year. Others predicted that Brees was too loyal to leave his longtime home. No matter what Brees’ plans are, it doesn’t hurt a free agent to see what their value is to other teams.