NFL Clears Eagles In Tampering Investigation Involving Star Running Back

The league began investigating Philly after Penn State coach after James Franklin seemed to indicate the Eagles talked to his former star running back outside the NFL's negotiating window.
Eagles RB Saquon Barkley
Eagles RB Saquon Barkley / John McMullen/Eagles SI
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PHILADELPHIA – Saquon Barkley will not cost the Eagles anything other than the money he is guaranteed on the three-year contract they gave the former New York Giants running back in free agency after the NFL cleared Philly of any tampering charges.

The league looked into the situation and found no wrongdoing. There was some thought that the NFL would try to make an example of the Eagles and ding them a third-day draft pick. No such thing will happen now.

A statement released by the NFL said:

“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.”

Eagles RB Saquon Barkley.
Eagles RB Saquon Barkley. / John McMullen/Eagles Today

The investigation began after Barkley’s college coach at Penn State, James Franklin, indicated Philly had spoken to the superstar runner during the negotiating window as part of the recruiting process to come to the Eagles.

Per Mark Wogenrich, who covers Penn State for SI, Franklin said earlier this year that he had talked to Barkley.

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

Franklin tried to backtrack when he said his comment was "misinterpreted."

"I had a 10-minute conversation with Saquon and I just assumed and connected dots that weren't there," Franklin said. "All those conversations went through his agent. And obviously I made a comment for three minutes that was misinterpreted, but by no means was it how it was portrayed."

Barkley is expected to be a big part of an Eagles offense loaded with weapons at receiver, tight end, and of course, at quarterback with Jalen Hurts.

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Ed Kracz

ED KRACZ

Ed Kracz has been covering the Eagles full-time for over a decade and has written about Philadelphia sports since 1996. He wrote about the Phillies in the 2008 and 2009 World Series, the Flyers in their 2010 Stanely Cup playoff run to the finals, and was in Minnesota when the Eagles secured their first-ever Super Bowl win in 2017. Ed has received multiple writing awards as a sports journalist, including several top-five finishes in the Associated Press Sports Editors awards.