Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Juszczyk explains why start of free agency may not be typical signing frenzy

Mar 7, 2021 at 3:05 PM--

Kyle Juszczyk remains on course to become a free agent in about a week-and-a-half. Something could develop with the San Francisco 49ers before then, but it sounds like the fullback expects to hit the open market for the second time in his NFL career.

Typically, the start of the new league year kicks off free agency with a bang—with a signing frenzy that results in announcements within minutes of players becoming available. That NFL created a two-day window, referred by some as the "legal tampering period" before the start of free agency, allowing player representatives time to negotiate with teams before making deals official when the new league year begins.

Honestly, everyone assumes that was happening anyway. Even before the "legal tamper period," some agreements were still announced at the onset of free agency. But in past years, Juszczyk feels it may not have just been the days leading to free agency that involved a little tampering. The fullback doesn't know when he will agree to a new deal, but he isn't assuming it will happen quickly, as has been the case in some past mega-deals.

"I feel like most of the time, that's because before [COVID-19], most of the negotiating gets done at the Combine," Juszczyk said on The Pat McAfee Show last week. "And I know nobody wants to talk about it, maybe it's not completely legal or whatever you want to put on it, but we all know what's going on at the Combine. The entire NFL is there.

"But now, not having that, that might push people back anyways. It doesn't make a lot of sense that literally, the second free agency hits, there's 20, 30 guys that are signing these deals. It's like, 'Oh, we negotiated that in the last 12 hours? Like, all of you? That's impressive.'"

When Juszczyk signed with the 49ers in 2017, his four-year deal was reported 24 hours before free agency started. The team officially announced the signing on the first day of free agency.

"Because there's no Combine, and nobody's able to meet in person, I feel like that might actually push some contracts back, and you might see a lot more later signings than you would usually," added Juszczyk.

The negotiating period means it's likely we still see at least some deals being agreed to quickly. Maybe that will include the fullback. Or maybe he will be among those waiting to get things finalized.

Free agency is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 17, with the negotiating period starting on Monday, March 15. Players who represent themselves, like 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, must wait until the start of free agency to begin negotiating with other teams.

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