No Vote on Tampering Rule
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.--The owners did not vote today on a proposal to change the league's anti-tampering rules.
Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, the co-chairman of the NFL's competition committee, said the owners will reconsider the issue at a meeting in October.
The proposal, as now written, would create a two-day window before the annual opening of the free agent market in which players eligible for free agency could negotiate with all teams.
Under the current rule, such a player can negotiate only with his current team until the opening of the free agent market. Some people within the league believe the rule is widely ignored, however, and the competition committee is attempting to create a rule that could be more easily enforced and reduces the incentive for teams to violate it.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had left open the possibility of a vote on the proposal today.
"We put it out there," McKay said. "It's something we'll bring back in October. We've had it on our radar screen for a year, a year and a half. It's not a major change.... It's in the discussion stage."
The competition committee reduced the negotiating window to two days; a period of five to seven days previously had been mentioned.
Under the proposal, the agent for a player eligible for free agency could negotiate with all teams during the two-day negotiating period. But the player could not visit other teams, undergo a physical for them or sign a contract with any club other than his current team.
Goodell said there was some sentiment among the owners during today's discussion for the current rule to be kept in place and enforced.
"There was also some sentiment in the room for: We have a rule. Let's follow the rules," Goodell said. "There is a strong element of that, also."
A vote on the proposal is likely in October, Goodell said.
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