What Is the NFL Legal Tampering Period, and When Does It Start in 2024?

The NFL legal tampering period, explained. What is it, when does it start, and how will it affect free agency in 2024?

The 2024 NFL free agent market will officially open at 4 p.m. ET on March 13. But the league also allows negotiations to occur during a 52-hour window leading up to free agency — a window officially referred to as the NFL legal tampering period.

What Is the NFL’s Legal Tampering Period?

During the NFL legal tampering period, agents (and players without representation) are allowed to speak with interested clubs and discuss contract terms.

Per the NFL, “clubs are permitted to contract and enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents…”

While teams and players can’t technically sign on the dotted line until free agency begins, they can knock out the details of a potential contract during the legal tampering period. Two parties may agree on annual salary and guarantees, but they can use this window to work through bonus structure, payout dates, and other particulars.

How forcefully the NFL enforces the legal tampering rules remains up for debate. Teams and agents regularly meet at the NFL Combine in late February, while full free agent contract terms are often announced seconds after the FA window opens.

The league implemented the legal tampering period in 2013, hoping to decrease pre-free agency conversations between teams and agents. The legal tampering window initially ran for three days until the NFL reduced it to two in 2016.

When Does the NFL Legal Tampering Period Start in 2024?

The NFL legal tampering period typically begins 52 hours before the start of free agency.

In 2024, the legal tampering period will kick off at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, March 11. Teams can meet with agents and unrepresented players until the free agent market opens just over two days later.

KEEP READING: The History of NFL Free Agency

High-profile veterans like Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones, Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley, and others are expected to reach unrestricted free agency.

Be sure to bookmark Pro Football Network’s Top 100 NFL free agents and NFL free agents by position lists to follow along with every bit of news.

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