NFL's 'Legal Tampering' Begins Today

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 A busy weekend is ahead in the NFL.

The doors to free agency officially open Tuesday afternoon, but the league's three-day "legal tampering" period begins today. Unrestricted free agents are now allowed to talk with other teams to negotiate new contracts.

Prior to this point, pending free agents could only negotiate with their former clubs.

That means some of the Ravens' key free agents like wide receiver Torrey Smith, running back Justin Forsett and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee will be able to get a clearer picture of what the market holds for them.

The Ravens can also enter into talks of their own with other free agents around the league.

While the tampering period allows for teams and players to negotiate, no deals can officially be signed until the new league year begins Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The tampering period, which was first introduced in 2013, could leave the Ravens and their free agents with some tough decisions in the final hours leading up to the new league year. The Ravens have said they want to keep Forsett and Smith, but some teams have plenty of cash to spend while the Ravens are tight against the salary cap. They also seemed certain that McPhee would get a bigger payday from another team than he could get in Baltimore.

"We have a history of retaining our players, especially players that have been productive," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said last week. "But also, we have a history of allowing our players to go out and maximize themselves in the market and go and play for other teams. Where that lies within Torrey, we'll find out between now and sometime before the opening of the League Year."

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