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NFL tells specific teams to keep phone records

Phone

The NFL will indeed investigate potential violations of the rules regarding the three-day free-agency negotiating window. And it appears that the NFL once again may be engaging in selective enforcement of the rules.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the NFL sent “memos to specific teams” on Tuesday, directing them to keep “phone records.” Per Schefter, the goal will be to investigate agreements “announced” during the three-day window.

Schefter, who’s cranking at full speed right now, probably meant to say “leaked,” since no deals were actually announced during the three-day window. (That would be a smoking gun, to say the least.) But whether the deals were leaked doesn’t matter; the question is whether teams were making offers and/or reaching tentative deals during the look-but-don’t-touch negotiation window.

As a result, the NFL should be seeking not phone records from select teams but emails and text messages from the relevant front office employees with every team. As folks have gotten more and more comfortable with the wink-nod negotiating period, which was more about public discretion than internal secrecy, there’s likely plenty of proof of offers being made and deals being struck in the communications between team executives and agents.

But it seems the league will target not every team but only those whose tentative deals were leaked. Which may explain why the Ndamukong Suh deal still isn’t done. The Dolphins may think the passage of time will reduce the perception that they violated the rules of the three-day window.