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Eagles cleared after tampering investigation into Saquon Barkley signing, NFL says

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni throws shade at Giants fans over Saquon Barkley signing
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni throws shade at Giants fans over Saquon Barkley signing 02:37

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have been cleared after an investigation into whether the team violated NFL anti-tampering rules during the negotiations and signing of then-free agent running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley, a native of Coplay, Pennsylvania, signed a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Eagles in March, prompting retired New York Giants player Tiki Barber to proclaim "you're dead to me" on sports talk radio station WFAN.

"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," a league spokesperson said Thursday.

The league interviewed members of the Eagles organization including Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni and Barkley, as well as Barkley's former college football coach, Penn State University's James Franklin. Phone logs, text messages and other documents were reviewed, according to the statement.

After the Eagles officially announced the three-year deal with Barkley, comments that Franklin made in a news conference suggested Roseman and Barkley had talked before NFL free agency officially started, which would not be allowed.

"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 [Roseman] 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 bases as well," Franklin said in March.

Under the rules, during the 52-hour "legal tampering period" that occurs before the start of free agency, players with expiring contracts can get in touch with other teams but all communications and negotiations need to take place through an agent, according to CBS Sports. Players can agree to deals through their agents but can't officially sign contracts until the new league year begins.

A tampering investigation soon followed Franklin's comments. Barkley said in a news conference as he was introduced as an Eagle that every piece of information during negotiations came through his agent.

The Eagles could have lost draft picks or been fined if the investigation found they had tampered.

"As with every review, should new evidence be uncovered, the league may reopen the investigation," the NFL's statement concluded.

The Eagles were the beneficiary of a tampering investigation before the 2023 NFL draft with the Arizona Cardinals, centering on former defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

The incident stemmed from Gannon receiving a call from Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort after the Eagles won the NFC championship game about becoming Arizona's head coach, which violated NFL rules.

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