Official website of the New England Patriots

News Blitz 3/7: Let the tampering begin!

Tuesday marks the opening of the legal tampering period in the NFL – the term makes no sense, just go with it – allowing teams to begin talking to players who'll hit free agency on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Coming at the conclusion of the week at the Scouting Combine – where illegal tampering takes place, but don't worry about that – there will be plenty of discussions regarding players and where they'll end up.

Clearly, there is a lot of money that's about to be thrown around the NFL. The Patriots will be in the mix in many ways, having more than $60 million in cap space to spend and a dozen players set to hit the open market.

The Boston Herald says the legal tampering period will set the stage for the Patriots plans in free agency. As such, the Herald also offers up a free agent primer for New England. The *Herald *also broke the news that the Patriots kept one key impending free agent from hitting the open market by signing a two-year deal with fullback James Develin.

The Globe looks at the report that the Patriots have shown interest in trading for Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, but wonders what we don't know about the wideout and why New Orleans is looking to deal him away.

Elsewhere, barely a month removed from the game itself, the Boston Globe looks at NFL Films releasing the Patriots Super Bowl LI Champions Blu-Ray this week.

The Providence Journal says the Patriots will have plenty of options to choose from as the team tries to fill its roster holes through free agency.

ESPNBoston.com recaps the New England free agent approach over the years, which is generally defined by volume. ESPNBoston.com also breaks down the Patriots use of the legal tampering period, using 2013 as a case study. ESPNBoston.com notes that restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler will be in store for a hefty raise, at the very least to the high RFA tender of $3.91 million.

WEEI.com passes along former New England front office man and current analyst for The Ringer Michael Lombardi saying the Patriots should find a way to get a long term contract done with Butler. Adding to his TB12 empire, WEEI.com points out that Tom Brady is now the plant-based meal delivery business. WEEI.com believes that Patriots fans would cheer for running back Adrian Peterson if he came to New England, despite his past issues off the field.

NESN.com has a list of defensive players it believes the Patriots are more likely to draft based on Combine numbers.

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