Saturday, March 8, 2014

Live Blog - "Legal Tampering" a prelude to a free for all

The word "Tampering" has long been associated with acts of dark malfeasance, usually in venues of law -

witness tampering, tampering with evidence, jury all sounds so judicial though when it comes right down to it, it's all just posturing on the part police and prosecutors to ensure that they obtain the desired outcome... when you hear the words "Legal Tampering" in regards to the National Football League and their 32 separate entities, the thought is the same, the teams posture themselves in position to gain the desired outcome, which is to come to terms on an agreement for a select player to don their team's uniform come September.
Worst kept secret: Redskins desire Patriots' Talib

Some liken it to college recruiting, a period of time when college coaches wine and dine potential recruits building up to National Letter of Intent day, hoping against hope that the player doesn't have too many bugs in his ear when it comes time to make a decision.

No matter how you look at it, this three day prelude to the free-for-all that is the NFL's free agency period that coincides with the start of the NFL's new business year is the first step in the teams building their rosters for the 2014 season - the parameters as set by the league as follows:

During the three-day period commencing at 12 noon, New York time, on Saturday, March 8, and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, March 11, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expirations of their 2013 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 11. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 11.
1. During this negotiating period, a club is permitted to:
a. Submit a written summary of the club’s negotiating position to a certified agent;
b. Express its position as to signing bonus, length of contract, amounts of signing bonus and yearly compensation, and other items;
c. Adjust its negotiating position in response to a certified agent’s position; and
d. Engage in an oral exchange of positions.

2. A club must express that it is stating a negotiating position, not making an offer. No part of the exchange of information is binding on either party.

3. A club cannot:
a. Execute a contract;
b. Submit a draft of an NFL Player Contract to a certified agent or the player;

c. Make an “offer;”
d. Enter into a written or oral agreement of any kind, express or implied, or make promises or representations of any type concerning the terms or conditions of employment to be offered to any Unrestricted Free Agent for inclusion in a Player Contract after the start of the new League Year;
e. Provide assurances of intent as to the future execution of an NFL Player Contract;
f. Announce an agreement or an agreement in principle; or
g. Discuss or make travel arrangements for a player.

During this negotiating period, a prospective Unrestricted Free Agent cannot visit a club (other than the player’s current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player’s current club). If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

Furthermore, clubs (other than the player’s current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective Unrestricted Free Agent players, their certified agents, or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players’ contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 11.

The three-day negotiating period applies only to potential Unrestricted Free Agents; it does not apply to players who are potential Exclusive Rights Players or Restricted Free Agents, or to players who have been designated as Franchise Players or Transition Players.

That said and understood, the following live blog outlines player movement, rumors and speculation as they pertain to the interests of the New England Patriots:

3/11/2014 - Your daily Darrelle Revis update:

3/11/2014 - Packer Report is speculating that one of Vikings' defensive end Jared Allen's best fits in with the Patriots, though they believe that Tampa Bay is the best destination for him.

3/11/2014 - Not free agency related, but perhaps could be: Wide receiver Aaron Dobson went under the knife on Monday to repair a stress fracture in his foot.  Time table for recovery is 2 to 3 months.


3/10/2014 - NBCSports writers are reporting that the Patriots and Aqib Talib are "very close" to a deal to keep him in Foxborough.  The article cites their information from "a source".  Right now, this is just conjecture.

3/10/2014 - League announces that the Patriots' have picked up an additional $2.87 million on the salary cap by settling past deals with Brandon Lloyd (option) and Jon Fanene.

3/10/2014 - Patriots' coach Bill Belichick took the axe to his practice squad, cutting seven players: OL's Brice Schwab and  Elvis Fisher, DT Cory Grissom, RB's Quentin Hines and Sam McGuffie, and linebacker Taylor Reed.

3/10/2014 - Patriots release wide receiver T. J. Moe, who had been on the teams' injured reserved list since blowing out his Achilles Tendon last offseason.

3/10/2014 - Patriots re-signed tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on a two-year deal.


3/9/2014 - Not surprisingly, the Patriots are rumored to be making a strong push to keep Edelman, now if they keep Amendola as well, Patriots' fans can pretty much forget about any moves to bring in another receiver.

3/9/2014 - Updating a previous entry, A well-connected beat writer who covers the Houston Texans is assuring his readers that the team will not be persuing Ryan Mallett.

3/9/2014: The Boston Globe is at their natural fence-sitting posture again, once more speculating that Danny Amendola could be cut by midnight on Tuesday, when a $2 million roster bonus is due - but the feeling here is that the Patriots keep him.  Why?  He gutted out a complete groin tear and showed how dynamic he can be in flashes.  It doesn't make a lot of sense to surgically repair the groin muscle, which has torn completely away from the bone.


3/8/2014 - The Ryan Mallett rumor mill is heating up, and according to , Big Tex is lusted after by the Houston Texans - but when considering that the Patriots are rumored to have already rejected a couple of second round offers for Mallett, what's it going to take for Houston to score?

3/8/2014 - Safety T.J. Ward is finding not as many suitors as he expected, even this early in the process - the Detroit Lions making the most noise.  Many believe that Ward would be a good fit in New England, but I believe in Duron Harmon - besides, I'm not sure that Belichick is Ward's biggest fan...

3/8/2014 - Good news for those of us that really hope that LeGarrette Blount is re-signed by the team, a source close to the action in reporting that there's absolutely no market for running backs on the first day of legal tampering, so says .

3/8/2014 - The brother of Patriots' defensive end Chandler Jones is hitting free agency as a highly rated defensive end.  Arthur Jones figures to come with a hefty price tag:

3/8/2014 - For those with a receiver infatuation, the Raiders' misused Jacoby Ford will hit free agency.  Ford is small but lightning quick and with 4.28 straight-line speed, he can stretch the field.  The San Francisco Chronicle belives he could be a good veteran minimum pick up.

3/8/2014 - Red Bryant, a defensive tackle that the Patriots persued in free agency a couple of years back and had been recently released by the Seattle Seahawks, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

It is rumored that the DT position for the Patriots is a position of need, but not as much a most believe - so the Patriots not chasing a deal with Bryant is not a surprise.

3/8/2014 - The Patriots are in need of interior offensive line help, and there's a few names out there that make sense, and Tampa Bay is stocking the position with the release of Davin Joseph and now comes word via that center Jeremy Zuttah may be headed in that direction as well - the Bucs trying to clear cap space and rid itself of some of the former regime's players at the same time.

3/8/2014 - In the worst-kept secret in the league, reports that the Washington Redskins could be interested in Patriots' cornerback Aqib Talib.

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