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2016 NFL free agency legal tampering period begins, what do you need to know?

Some of the rules of the game for these first two days of free agent contacts.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Today begins a strange thing called the NFL legal tampering period. It is when teams can contact potential free agents, but not sign them. Here are the rules and what you need to know.

There is a change this year. Before, teams technically could not even begin to make contract negotiations or offers. The league sent a memo explaining a softened stance. Pro Football Talk explains the changes.

"During the two-day negotiating period, all clubs may negotiate all aspects of an NFL Player Contract with the certified agent of any prospective UFA," explains the March 2 memo to all teams, a copy of which PFT has obtained. "However, a new club may not execute an NFL Player Contract with a prospective UFA until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9, when the player's 2015 contract expires."

The memo then explains that "the only valid, binding and enforceable employment agreement between an NFL player and an NFL club is an NFL Player Contract that has been fully executed by the parties in compliance with all applicable League rules and the CBA," and that any discussions regarding possible employment or terms of employment "are non-binding and are unenforceable by the player or the club."

Teams can contact player agents and give offers. They may not reach any agreements and certainly not announce them.

Players themselves may not have contact with teams, only certified agents.

Will this be followed? We haven't ever seen it work before now. Agents leak information to reporters and reporters will report things. That's how it works. But nothing can be official until Wednesday at 4 PM Eastern.

Make sense?