Shortly after the Philadelphia Eagles signed former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Penn State head coach James Franklin made comments that seemed to suggest some tampering had occurred.

“He said that was one of the first things that Howie (Roseman) said to him on the phone as part of his sales pitch,” Franklin said of Barkley. “Not only the Philadelphia Eagles and that that but also the connection with Penn State and the fan base as well. So just a really cool opportunity.”

Had Eagles general manager Howie Roseman contacted Barkley during the two-day legal tampering period, it would have violated NFL protocol.

Per league rules, teams are permitted to enter into negotiations with agents and representatives of pending free agents during the two-day legal tampering period. However, teams cannot speak to players directly unless those players are self-represented.

Shortly after Franklin’s comments, which he later walked back, the NFL opened a review of the Eagles’ signing of Barkley.

On Thursday, the league determined that the Eagles had not violated tampering rules and released the following statement:

After a thorough review of the Philadelphia Eagles signing of Saquon Barkley, the NFL today informed the club that the investigation did not discover sufficient evidence to support a finding that the Anti-Tampering Policy was violated.

In coming to this conclusion, the league reviewed phone logs, text messages and other documents related to Philadelphia’s free agency strategy and decision to sign Barkley. The NFL also interviewed several members of the organization, including Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni, as well as Barkley and Penn State head coach James Franklin. As with every review, should new evidence be uncovered, the league may reopen the investigation.

Had the Eagles violated tampering rules, they would have been fined and/or docked future draft picks.

Philadelphia signed Barkley to a three-year, $37.75 million deal with $26 million guaranteed.


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