In case you have been living in a proverbial bubble this past week, I’ll update you on the status of the NFL. In a nutshell, it’s insanity!
The new NFL year started this past Tuesday and with it came a bevy of unimaginable moves. Plenty of notable free agents switched teams, highlighted by Ndamukong Suh becoming the highest paid defensive player in the league.
Then, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to change their entire team around, nearly broke Twitter and gave just about every person in Philadelphia nightmares. Couple that with a key player who changed his mind after an agreement had been reported, and it has been a whirlwind of a week for the NFL.
Now, the real question is, what spurred this unprecedented jolt of front office activity?
Prior to 2013, teams were not allowed to court or negotiate with potential signees before the official start of free agency. For obvious reasons, this created a delay before many players could officially sign, because the negotiation process took so much time.
As a result, free agent signings were spread out throughout the first few weeks of free agency. This did not generate the buzz around free agency the NFL wanted.
So in 2013, the NFL changed the rules.
That offseason, the NFL implemented a new rule that allowed for a three-day negotiating period before the start of free agency. During this period, agents and teams can discuss the parameters of potential deals and gauge interest from around the NFL, but no contract can be signed and teams are technically not allowed to make an offer.
That’s right, they can negotiate but not offer.
Now, how you negotiate without ever offering anything is something the NFL is going to have to explain. It doesn’t make sense, but the NFL doesn’t really care if it makes sense. In reality, the NFL wants these deals done and ready for the beginning of free agency.
The bottom line is that the NFL wants the start of free agency to resemble something similar to National Signing Day, in which many of the high-profile high school football players all announce their college decisions on the same day. This festive day has generated some unbelievable T.V. ratings and media attention in the recent past and the NFL is trying to create this same basic concept around the start of free agency.
If most of the high profile free agents sign on the same day, it will create a huge event and will get an abundance of media attention.
With that in mind, the NFL is really, REALLY, happy about the excitement this past week generated. They wanted an extravaganza for the first official week of the NFL year and it worked out perfectly for them. Teams went crazy, the media provided insane coverage of it and fans ate every minute of it up.
Clearly, the NFL as a whole is the big winner this offseason. Maybe Roger Goodell should thank Chip Kelly and the Eagles for providing so much craziness this year.
Follow Justin on Twitter @RuoffonSports