New Three-Day Negotiating Period Set To Begin Thursday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 7, 2013 – 7:41 am

The NFL has added a new wrinkle to free agency this year, and it’s a wrinkle that will further enhance the fans’ enjoyment of the League and serve as an accelerant to the commencement of a new League Year. The new wrinkle is termed by the NFL as a “three-day negotiating period for unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and it will provide football fans with plenty of fodder over the upcoming weekend as the new League Year quickly approaches.

Previously, teams were prohibited from entering negotiations with soon-to-be UFAs until the beginning of the new League Year. Now, however, the NFL has instituted this three-day negotiating period, which allows teams to contact the certified agent(s) for players set to hit free agency. Essentially, this three-day window will allow players scheduled to hit free agency a sneak peek at their market value before deciding whether or not to re-sign with their current team prior to the start of free agency. Conversely, it will allow teams to gauge the market of players not on their team to see if the price tag of those players is worth a potential upgrade over a player currently on their team.

Officially, the new League Year begins on March 12, but for all intents and purposes business opens three days before that because of the new three-day negotiating period. This three-day negotiating period begins at Thursday, March 8 at 11:00 p.m. CT and concludes on Tuesday, March 12 at 2:59 p.m. CT. While negotiations may commence during this period, a prospective UFA cannot visit a team (other than the player’s current team) and a team other than a player’s current team cannot directly contact a prospective UFA. If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

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

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