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NFL buried rules proposals from teams into free-agency frenzy

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down the various rule changes proposed by NFL teams, from a return of the third QB rule, to a fourth-and-20 onside kick alternative and more.

When it comes to the deliberate disclosure of significant information by a multi-billion-dollar organization, there are no coincidences and there are no accidents.

This week, the NFL chose to drop the array of team-based rule proposals into the late afternoon of the first de facto day of free agency for a reason. And that reason surely wasn’t to shed maximum light on the nine items submitted by the various teams.

They (whoever “they” are) knew that the media would be focused on the rapid-fire flurry of transactions. They knew that the fans would be doing the same. As a result, the nine proposals got far less attention than they would have received.

The most obvious reason for this would seem to be that the league wants to downplay the proposals not being made by the Competition Committee. Those are the official proposals, and if the Competition Committee were behind any of the nine proposals that were made by teams, those proposals would have appeared on the list of potential rule changes made directly by the Committee.

The Competition Committee’s proposals will presumably arrive within the next week or so. (In past years, the Competition Committee’s proposals and team’s proposals were released at the same time.) And those proposals surely will land at a time when far more attention will be paid to whatever the suggested changes may be.

At the end of the day, the owners will do whatever they do -- as long as at least 24 of them want to do it. By releasing the team proposals at a time when they are less likely to get real traction, the proposals not officially sanctioned by the Competition Committee have less of a chance to take on a life of their own in the media, and in turn to catch the attention of a critical mass of owners.