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The “Legal Tampering Period” and What It Means For the Patriots

The NFL's three day legal negotiation window opened today.

Running towards free agency.
Running towards free agency.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Today marks the first of three days the NFL's "legal tampering window", which was established by the league in 2013, is open. Since midnight, pending unrestricted free agents are allowed to enter negotiations with all 32 franchises.

What does this mean?

Basically, "legal tampering period" means that a team's unrestricted free agents can start negotiating with other clubs before free agency begins on Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET. Per a league office memo, sent to the clubs in March 2013, teams can enter talks with upcoming free agents within the three day window but are only allowed to outline the parameters of potential contracts and not make any official offers or host any players.

What does this mean for the New England Patriots?

The following Patriots are set to become unrestricted free agents on Tuesday and are subject to the "legal tampering period":

LS Danny Aiken

LB Akeem Ayers

DT Alan Branch

LB Jonathan Casillas

OG Dan Connolly

FS Devin McCourty

RB Stevan Ridley

RB Shane Vereen

LB Chris White

Two notable names missing on this list are cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Teams cannot enter negotiations with those two because of their respective contract statuses. Revis is still under contract with the Patriots, while the team – theoretically – could still pick up both his contract option as well as Wilfork's two-year option prior to the start of free agency.