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Eagles say there was no Saquon Barkley tampering despite James Franklin remark

Despite a remark from Penn State head coach James Franklin, the Eagles say there was no tampering with Saquon Barkley.

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Was the legal tampering period an illegal tampering period?

The Eagles have denied that they made improper contact with Saquon Barkley before agreeing to contract terms with the two-time Pro Bowl running back, according to a story by ESPN’s Tim McManus.

NFL rules prohibit teams from making direct contact with players (except those without agents) during the legal tampering period, which ran from noon Monday through 4 p.m. Wednesday. All contact during that period must go through an agent.

The league is reportedly looking into any potential tampering:

In an interview during Penn State’s spring media day on Tuesday — well before 4 p.m. Wednesday — coach James Franklin off-handedly alluded to direct contact between Eagles GM Howie Roseman had with Barkley as he recruited him:

“For him now to to come back and be able to play within the state in Philadelphia, he said that was one of the first things that Howie said to him on the phone as part of kind of his sales pitch to him, was not not only the Philadelphia Eagles and that but obviously the connection with Penn State and the fan bases as well.”

If that conversation really did happen, then the contact would be impermissible and would potentially be tampering. If the NFL ruled that the Eagles tampered with Barkley while he was still under contract with the Giants and before free agency began, they could be stripped of draft picks, fined or both.

But the Eagles said all contact between the franchise and Barkley – and with all free agents – was with the agent, which is permissible during the 52-hour legal tampering period.

ESPN reported that the Giants have not contacted the league regarding Franklin’s comments.

After six seasons with the Giants, Barkley signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with an $11.625 million signing bonus and $26 million guaranteed. 

Barkley, a native of Whitehall, Pennsylvania, outside Allentown, made Pro Bowls after the 2018 and 2022 season. Since he entered the league in 2018, Barkley has averaged 99 scrimmage yards per game, which trails only Christian McCaffrey (126), Derrick Henry (107), Jonathan Taylor (105) and Alvin Kamara (100) among 61 backs with at least 500 touches.

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