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Jets will be allowed to start negotiating with free agents Monday as legal tampering period begins

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The official start of free agency comes at the outset of the new league year on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m Eastern.

The Jets and other teams are allowed to begin negotiating with free agents from other teams on Monday, however, as the two day legal tampering period begins. Normally conducting contract talks with another team’s player before free agency begins would be considered tampering, but the league has allowed it the last few days before free agency for the last five years or so.

The NFL found that teams were breaking the rules and contacting players in the days before free agency anyway so rather than punish the teams, they just changed the rules to allow it.

If teams were willing to break the rules by contacting players before the start of free agency, why wouldn’t they contact players before the start of the legal tampering period? That’s a great question that helps shed light on how silly the NFL’s decisions can be. But Monday is the legal start of negotiating season.

The league usually warns teams that while negotiations can start on Monday, they are not supposed to come to contract agreements until the official start of free agency on Wednesday. Again, these rules don’t make much sense. If you are negotiating with somebody, what is to stop the two sides from making progress and finding an agreement that that makes sense for everybody?

The type of logic the NFL uses in its rule-making does so much to explain a lot of the problems with the league.

In any event, the Jets are expected to be active in free agency with their cap bonanza and needs almost everywhere on the roster. Monday is when they can start to move.