How the Bucs could benefit from the NFL's free-agent negotiating window
The NFL did a very smart thing this year, implementing a three-day negotiating window preceding the start of free agency, theoretically cutting down on the widespread tampering occurring before the signing period.
Whether it accomplishes that goal will be determined later, but here’s how it would work: Teams can negotiate with the representatives of players who are scheduled to become free agents beginning on Saturday. No deals can be signed (though terms can be agreed upon) and teams cannot personally speak with players until free agency officially begins next Tuesday, one week from today. But under the new rules, the process will be underway well before that.
As it relates to the Bucs, this new approach to free agency could have a tangible benefit. For a team that has a couple of key free agents, like defensive end Michael Bennett and nose tackle Roy Miller, giving those players the opportunity to negotiate with teams before the start of the signing period will give the players a better sense of what to expect when the gates open.
If the offers they’re fielding when speaking with other teams aren’t better than those being offered by the Bucs, Tampa Bay finds itself in a comfortable position. During that three-day window, only the Bucs can make official deals with their free agents, something other teams are prohibited from doing until 4 p.m. on March 12.
Will anything change at the last minute? At this point, it’s almost a sure thing that Bennett and Miller are going to hit the open market – unless something significant happens.
The new negotiating window could, perhaps, be that something.