One of the annual rites of NFL spring has been the drama and subterfuge among teams and players agents during the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The back-channel tampering was one of sports’ worst-kept secrets.
That may be changing.
ESPN and NFL.com are reporting that the NFL and players association are considering an agreement to move the draft from its customary calendar spot in late April back into mid-May. The start of free agency would be moved up into February, before the Scouting Combine, meaning that any contract conversations at the event and before would be above board instead of on a wink-wink basis as they have been with the Combine coinciding or preceding free agency.
Any arrangement is expected to be on a trial basis. But the net effect would be to create a more year-round media presence for the NFL: playoffs in January, Super Bowl in early February, free agency beginning in late February or early March, Combine in late March and the draft in May.