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NFL Free Agency Primer: Legal Tampering Begins Today

Teams can officially talk to player's agents today at noon.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency starts today at 12P EST, with the NFL's "legal tampering period".  The league has loosened up some of the restrictions that were a fantasy at best. Before this season, teams could talk about players with their agents, without actually laying out terms of a deal. The time was also cut from 3 days to 2 days. Now, according to Pro Football Talk, teams work out the framework of potential deals, but they will not go into effect until the new league year starts on Wednesday, March 9th at 4 PM EST. It's a minor change, but the legal tampering period was always something that was going to be "violated" due to it's awkward set of limitations.

The Redskins will be active in free agency, but GM Scot McCloughan has said they will not be big players this year.  McCloughan preaches that the draft is the lifeline of an organization, but did bring in several free agents last year.  Chris Culliver was the biggest contract given out last year, and with scheme fit questions, and injuries ending his season early, has been a disappointment. Stephen Paea was a day one signing that didn't earn a starting spot on the defensive line. Ricky Jean-Francois, who was released by the Colts before the start of free agency, earned more playing time, at a lower price.  Terrance Knighton was also added to the D-Line on a 1 year deal, but has not been offered a new deal yet. McCloughan also brought in a player he was familiar with from his time with the Seattle Seahawks, S Jeron Johnson, who was injured, and then relegated to a backup/special teams role.

The Redskins have needs on both sides of the ball, and a lot of free agents and potential cap casualties.  Robert Griffin III will be the biggest  cut, clearing up over $16 million in cap space. But there are plenty of other potential cuts that will help the Redskins cap this year. The Redskins already tendered three of their exclusive rights free agents, and they still have two restricted free agents to make a decision on. Their biggest free agent was locked up, at least for this year, when the Redskins placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins.

Updated Legal Tampering Rules:

"During the two-day negotiating period, all clubs may negotiate all aspects of an NFL Player Contract with the certified agent of any prospective UFA," explains the March 2 memo to all teams, a copy of which PFT has obtained. "However, a new club may not execute an NFL Player Contract with a prospective UFA until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9, when the player's 2015 contract expires."

The memo then explains that "the only valid, binding and enforceable employment agreement between an NFL player and an NFL club is an NFL Player Contract that has been fully executed by the parties in compliance with all applicable League rules and the CBA," and that any discussions regarding possible employment or terms of employment "are non-binding and are unenforceable by the player or the club."


Redskins Free Agents:

Terrance Knighton NT UFA $4,450,000
Colt McCoy QB UFA $1,500,000
Logan Paulsen TE UFA $1,333,333
Darrel Young FB UFA $1,323,333
Kedric Golston DL UFA $1,100,000
Pierre Thomas RB UFA $870,000
Alex Smith TE UFA $870,000
Will Blackmon CB UFA $870,000
Brian De La Puente C SFA $745,000
Junior Galette OLB UFA* $745,000
Mason Foster ILB UFA $745,000
Cary Williams CB UFA $745,000
Josh LeRibeus G UFA $714,081
Tom Compton RT/TE RFA $660,000
Duke Ihenacho S RFA $660,000
Frank Kearse DE UFA $660,000
Keenan Robinson ILB UFA $630,027
Alfred Morris RB UFA $555,775

*Redskins have the right of first refusal

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