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No free agent contracts for Dolphins at midnight

It's midnight and it is now officially allowable under NFL guidelines for clubs to begin calling agents of prospective free agents from other teams. Yes, teams can continue to sign their own prospective free agents, but the activity with other unrestricted free agents is limited to merely conversations.

There will be no contracts signed until March 12 at 4 p.m. Indeed, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams on Friday to make sure they understand that even a sourced media report of a contract agreement -- either implied or express -- is out of bounds.

"Any announcement of an agreement or an agreement in principle by a club or another party, including, but not limited to, a certified agent, player, or media organization may subject the club to a tampering investigation," the NFL letter obtained by The Miami Herald reads.

The NFL is allowing communication but that seems to be the only thing that is allowed. Free agency does not begin until Tuesday.

This also from the NFL:

"Beginning at 12 midnight and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. (all times Eastern) Tuesday, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2012 player contracts at 4 p.m. Tuesday.  However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"Clubs (other than the player's current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free-agent players, their certified agents or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players' 2012 player contracts at 4 p.m. Tuesday."

The Dolphins did take modest advantage of the ability to have their own free agents in for visits. The club had doctors examine Jake Long on Friday, presumably to confirm a YahooSports.com report that had Dr. James Andrews saying Long is recovering well and is one month from being 100 percent following his surgery to repair his torn left triceps.

Remember that Long also tore his right bicep in 2011 so I expect that was checked out as well.

This is not routine. It's obvious the Dolphins still value Long and could be preparing one more offer to the prospective free agent before March 12. I'm told no new such offer has been made at this time.

The club also might be willing to respond to an offer Long gets on the open market if it meets Miami's financial criteria. In that case, the Dolphins would be effectively letting another team negotiate the Long contract for them.

It's all a long shot. The more likely scenario is Long hits free agency and gets a big offer from another team. But the Dolphins are confident they have a good value set for Long and the market will bear that out.

The market for players cut prior to free agency, most likely as salary cap casualties, does not have to adhere by the unrestricted free agency rules. Those street free agents can sign anytime. To that, the Kansas City Chiefs reach a deal with former Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, according to ESPN.

Dolphins fallout?

Well, if Sean Smith's rumored flirtations with the Chiefs -- the ones circulated by former teammate Vontae Davis on twitter and denied by Smith on twitter -- are true, Smith might have one less suitor in free agency. Philadelphia is a team expected to kick the tires on Smith but the cornerback market is saturated so we'll see.

[Update: Looks like Vontae broke this story! NFL.com is reporting Smith and the Chiefs are talking.]

[Update: The Miami Herald's Adam Beasley is reporting between "three and five teams" are showing interest in Smith.]

By the way, Miami's plan continues to be to make calls on multiple free agents including Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and others. Not all the calls will lead to contracts or even negotiations.

And, as the NFL is mandating, no contracts will be signed until Tuesday the earliest.

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