By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

CBS DETROIT – In the wake of Ndamukong Suh and several other prominent players reaching deals with new teams before the official start of free agency, the NFL has opened an investigation into whether teams broke any of the rules that govern the three-day negotiating period that precedes free agency.

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Those rules, which permit teams to engage in negotiation with agents of impending free agents but forbid them from reaching agreements, have drawn ridicule from many.

Between the incongruity of the rules and the potentially serious consequences for violating them, the three-day negotiating window could be a topic of conversation later this month at the owners meetings.

“It might come up in some context,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email to CBS Detroit. “It is certainly something that teams want to discuss.”

In response to an early deal made by one of its free agents, a team could call the league and complain about tampering. Particularly in the case of a player signing a deal the magnitude of the one Suh did, however, the league is not expected to take strong action.

“You’re going to have a problem with NFLPA if they tried to void this deal, particularly since it’s the richest deal for a non-quarterback and it’s got the most fully guaranteed money ever in an NFL contract,” said Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who now writes for CBS Sports.

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“They’re going to have a huge fight on their hands with NFLPA, so I don’t think they’re going to void this deal,” Corry continued. “They may pick someone to be a sacrificial lamb and make an example of them, but I don’t think it’s going to be this deal. That would cause too much of an uproar.”

Then again, the league has caused an adverse reaction or two in its day.

“The NFL seems to do what it wants when it wants, doesn’t really take other things into consideration, like how the NFLPA is going to react, most of the time,” Corry said. “I think doing something like this would galvanize players to take a harder-line approach generally with everything the NFL does, and I don’t think the NFL wants that.”

The league could also punish teams by taking away draft picks or doling out fines, but Corry believes the investigation is mostly bluster, mainly prompted by annoyance that the leaked deals rendered anticlimactic the NFL Network’s programming on the first official day of free agency.

“It’s going to be more of a scare tactic, I think,” Corry said. “If they really wanted to have practical rules in place, they should just admit that free agency starts three days earlier than it normally does, have a signing moratorium and do it that way because the rules right now, just from a practical standpoint, don’t make a lot of sense and aren’t realistically workable.”

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