NFL needs to reconsider its pre-free agency rules
Several years ago, the NFL decided to acknowledge widespread pre-free agency tampering by creating a two-day window for negotiations between teams and the agents representing potential free agents. Initially clumsy and nonsensical, with proposals allowed to be exchanged but no agreements allowed to be reached, the rules now permit tentative agreements that can’t be announced by the teams and that ultimately aren’t done until they’re done.
Owners may not appreciate the added expense of a stream of visits that may ultimately not result in employment, but isn’t it worth the money to get a chance to meet with and talk to players before being able to negotiate deals? Actually, there’s a viable business reason for changing the process. Teams currently can’t profit from the pre-free agency chatter via their in-house media companies, since none of the deals reached during the negotiating period can be announced. A week of visits would allow the teams to write their own stories and post their own videos about the comings and goings of players who possibly will be signed later. (Actually, maybe the current approach is fine.)
That’s just one possibility. Whatever the league does, it needs to do something to give players and teams a better chance to gather information before agreeing to terms and to come up with a way to manage the process that better maximizes the ability to translate the developments into a constant stream of news and analysis, one that still culminates in all hell breaking loose when the market opens.
The official online roster also includes Johnson, Crowell, and Santos. But not Bridgewater.
We’ve commenced the process of getting to the bottom of this one (this post surely will get multiple others to do the same), and the Jets did not immediately respond to a text message seeking clarification. For now, there’s reason to at least wonder whether something happened with Bridgewater’s physical especially with the Jets trading up with the Colts from No. 6 in round one to No. 3 on Saturday.
Colts G.M. Chris Ballard in the immediate aftermath of the trade that the discussions with the Jets began on Monday or Tuesday. Perhaps Bridgewater’s deal became insurance against not making the trade. Now that the trade has been made, the Jets can have the same coincidental concerns about Bridgewater’s knee that, for example, the Ravens had about receiver Ryan Grant after Michael Crabtree finally became available.