Primarily, the NFL Scouting Combine offers NFL teams with a close look at the top prospects in the upcoming draft class. However, the event also brings together the league's decision-makers and player agents, providing a chance to gauge the interest in impending free agents.
It appears that the Los Angeles Chargers and some other franchises have used the combine to do exactly that. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chargers met with Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee, presumably to discuss the veteran quarterback's desire to leave the New England Patriots once free agency begins on March 18.
Under the rules of the collective-bargaining agreement, teams can only communicate with their own players prior to the legal-tampering window opening on March 16. Making contact with soon-to-be free agents from other teams would open up a club to tampering charges and possible punishment from the league office.
However, this sort of illegal contact occurs every offseason and rarely results in a reprimand. Moreover, the Patriots do not seem interested in raising the issue. According to NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran, the team has no problem with Brady gauging his market prior to the start of free agency and will likely not file any tampering charges as a result.
Because of those circumstances, the Chargers should have a decent idea of where they stand with Brady prior to the time he officially hits the open market. Whether or not the quarterback has interest in moving his family to Los Angeles, what the team learns will allow the front office to better approach free agency and the draft.