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2023 NFL free agency: Legal tampering period explanation

The fun that is NFL free agency begins today. Here’s what you should know! Related: Broncos free agency tracker.

Denver Broncos v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

NFL Free Agency kicks off on Wednesday, March 15 at 2 p.m. MT, but the action really starts up on two days prior with the opening of legal tampering on Monday, March 13 at 10 a.m. MT.

The Denver Broncos are heading into a very important free agency period as new head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton will begin to transform the roster into the mold that Payton believes will lead the franchise back to contention.

What is legal tampering?

About a decade ago, the NFL implemented a legal tampering period to account for the tampering that most teams were already doing “illegally” under NFL rules. Now, much of the negotiations happen “legally” in that 52-hour legal tampering window before the start of the new league year.

While teams can negotiate during this period and have parameters set for potential contracts with pending free agents, nothing is finalized until the ink hits the paper to start the league year.

Broncos free agency overview

The Broncos electing not to use the franchise tag on Dre’Mont Jones this year and they also released several veterans last week. By avoiding the cost of the tag and those cuts, they will enter free agency with $33.8 million in cap space. The team is also rumored to be shopping Courtland Sutton for a potential trade, which could free up an additional $7 million in cap space and add some draft capital.

Current salary cap space: $33,860.307

Notable Broncos’ free agents: Dre’Mont Jones, DeShawn Williams, Dalton Risner, Kareem Jackson, Latavius Murray, Alex Singleton

Top positional needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Running back.

What might the Broncos do during legal tampering?

They will likely be looking at running backs and offensive line early. In fact, Mike Klis of 9News wrote his free agent possibilities and offensive line dominated the list early. We’ve covered all but a couple of the players from his list in our free agent target series over the last month. Here were the players Klis had in his story:

  1. Kaleb McGary, RT (FA Profile)
  2. Ben Powers, G (FA Profile)
  3. Isaac Seumalo, G (FA Profile)
  4. Mike McGlinchey, RT (FA Profile)
  5. Larry Ogunjobi, DT
  6. Greg Gaines, DT
  7. Zach Allen, DT (FA Profile)
  8. Riley Dixon and Tomas Morestead, Punters
  9. Jameis Winston, QB (FA Profile)

For the bigger contracts and first wave free agents, the legal tampering period is where we’d see that action. It sure seems like the Broncos are going to be aggressive with their short-list of free agent targets, but they may not be splashing any big contract signings this cycle.