Eagles deny violating tampering rule with Saquon Barkley

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles have denied impermissible contact between general manager Howie Roseman and running back Saquon Barkley during the negotiating window before the start of free agency.

Barkley, a Penn State alum and Pennsylvania native, agreed to terms with the Eagles on a three-year, $37.75 million contract that includes $26 million fully guaranteed at signing. His former coach at Penn State, James Franklin, suggested Roseman spoke to Barkley directly during the “legal tampering” period, which is not allowed.

Said Franklin: “For him now 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 his sales pitch to him was not only the Philadelphia Eagles and that but obviously the connection with Penn State and the fan base as well.”

Teams are not allowed to talk directly to players during the negotiating window unless the player represents himself. An Eagles spokesperson said that all recruiting done by the team is facilitated through the agent.

The NFL declined to comment on whether it is investigating possible impermissible contact. An Eagles spokesperson said he was unaware of any communication from the league to the team on the subject as of Wednesday evening.

The New York Giants have not reached out to the league about the matter, according to a source.

Barkley, 27, has starred for the Giants over the past six seasons since being selected with the second overall pick in 2018, racking up over 7,300 all-purpose yards and 47 touchdowns. A two-time Pro Bowler, Barkley rushed for 962 yards in 14 games last season.

New York placed the franchise tag on Barkley last offseason but declined to do so this year. According to a source, the Giants did not make a contract offer to Barkley this offseason. Besides the Eagles, the two teams with the strongest interest in Barkley were the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, a source said.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Dan Graziano contributed to this report

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