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NFL looking into potential violations in early free agency deals

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the Hilton Hotel on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Credit: Bryan Smith

The NFL is looking into whether some teams entered agreements with 2015 free agents before they were allowed to do so.

The league sent a memo to the 32 clubs reminding them not to reach agreement with or sign any of the 2015 free agents until Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT. The memo noted a "reported number of agreements."

Among those are big-money deals for Ndamukong Suh with Miami, Jeremy Maclin with Kansas City, and Frank Gore and Byron Maxwell with Philadelphia.

"At this time, the league office is beginning investigations into a number of reported agreements with clubs," the memo said. "Violations will be dealt with accordingly."

Teams were given a three-day window beginning Saturday to meet with representatives of free agents. The league's business year begins Tuesday and players can be signed after 4 p.m. ET. But in the wake of many reported contract agreements, the NFL issued the warning.

During this negotiating period, a team is allowed to submit a written summary of the club's negotiating position to a certified agent. That can include a potential signing bonus; length of the contract; the amounts of the signing bonus and yearly salary. The team also can adjust its position when the agent makes a counter-offer.

The idea behind the three-day negotiating period is to allow conversations between more teams and player agents, and, of course, to gauge a player's value on the open market.

With the salary cap increasing by more than $10 million this year, and with several teams having carry-over money to spend, the competition for free agents has been intense.

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