Reviewing rules on 'negotiating period'

Free agency doesn’t officially start until 4 p.m. ET on March 12. But the process is going to have a new twist this year.

Teams can actually start talking to the agents for prospective free agents several days before. The NFL just sent out a reminder about how the new rules will work.

Starting Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET clubs are allowed to contact certified agents of players who will become free agents when their contracts expire on Tuesday. The negotiating period will run until 3:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

During the negotiation period, prospective free agents are not allowed to visit a club (other than the one they’re under contract to) at its permanent facility or any other location. No contact is permitted between prospective free agents and any employee of a representative from another club.

In other words, teams can only talk to agents. If a player serves as his own agent, other teams can’t contact him during the negotiating period.