NFL Investigating Eagles, Falcons For Potential Tampering

Although the NFL calls its unofficial free agency the legal tampering period, the league is looking into whether two teams went too far during this year’s window. The Eagles and Falcons are under investigation,’s Dan Graziano tweets.

The league is looking into potential violations from these teams during their respective Saquon Barkley and Kirk Cousins negotiations. Penn State coach James Franklin, who coached Barkley in college, said GM Howie Roseman spoke directly with the running back prior to the new league year. Teams are not permitted to speak directly with players during the tampering period unless they are self-represented; the Eagles have denied any violation occurred,’s Tim McManus notes.

Cousins said Wednesday night he spoke with the Falcons’ trainer during the tampering window, which is not permitted under league rules. While tampering ahead of the days that comprise the legal tampering period happens annually, as some deals come to pass rather quickly once the signing window opens. But the league is investigating these two high-profile team changes. Fines or potential loss of draft picks can come out of tampering violations.

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,” Franklin said (via McManus) of Barkley’s Eagles talks.

As of Thursday morning, the Giants had not contacted the league about tampering, per McManus. By most accounts, the Giants were prepared to move on from the two-time Pro Bowler. While New York did add a veteran replacement in Devin Singletary, the ex-Brian Daboll Bills charge comes cheaper than Barkley, who signed a three-year, $37.75MM deal with $26MM guaranteed at signing. The Vikings did make a more concerted effort to retain Cousins, but the Falcons came in with a big offer — four years, $180MM with a $100MM practical guarantee — to lure him out of Minneapolis.

Rehabbing a torn Achilles sustained in late October, Cousins wants to be ready for the Falcons’ summer workouts. Falcons buzz began building coming out of the Combine, which often serves as a preview of the market. After battling uphill against Cousins during negotiations for years, the Vikings held tight against the kind of guarantee the Falcons are authorizing. As he prepares to move to his wife’s hometown, the 35-year-old passer will be working with the Falcons’ medical staff soon. The NFL will look into whether the Falcons’ staff violated tampering policies during this high-profile recruitment.

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