NFL sends memo chastising teams leaking contract details

The NFL created the legal tampering period to prevent, well, illegal tampering. Specifically: Keeping soon to-be-free agents and interested teams from negotiating new deals before the official start of free agency.

In theory, it's a fine idea. In practice, it's led to plenty of legal tampering, usually followed by contract details becoming public -- even though, again, free agency doesn't officially begin until this Tuesday at 4 p.m.

On Monday, the NFL sent a memo to the 32 NFL teams reminding them what legal tampering entails -- and what it doesn't (namely, the aforementioned leaked contract information). Here's the text of the memo, via NFL.com's Albert Breer:

Clubs were advised of the rules for the three-day negotiating period in PP-23-15 (attached). These rules include limitations such as that a club cannot make an “offer;” or 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; or provide assurances of intent as to the future execution of an NFL Player Contract.

Clubs were further advised that “Any attempt to undermine the purpose of this negotiating period may be considered conduct detrimental to the League.” At this time, the League office is beginning investigations into a number of reported agreements with clubs. Violations will be dealt with accordingly.

Twitter reacted swiftly, predictably:

To recap: the NFL isn't happy because teams have taken legal tampering too far. Our biggest takeaway from all this: free agency started on Saturday, March 7 (the date legal tampering was first allowed) instead of Tuesday, March 10, which is when free agency is listed on the NFL calendar. Why this matters to the league -- other than, as PFT notes, some suddenly diluted Tuesday free-agency programming on NFL Network -- is anyone's guess.

NFL wants to make sure teams understand how legal tampering works. (Getty Images)
The NFL wants to make sure teams understand how legal tampering works. (Getty Images)
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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