NFL investigating Eagles, Falcons for possible tampering involving Barkley, Cousins: Source

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By Jeff Howe, Dianna Russini and Brooks Kubena

The NFL will investigate potential tampering violations involving the Philadelphia Eagles and running back Saquon Barkley, as well as the Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to a league source.

Barkley agreed to terms with the Eagles, along with Cousins agreeing to terms with the Falcons on the first day of the legal negotiating period Monday. The teams announced the deals Wednesday, which was the first deal a player with an expiring contract with one team could sign with another team.

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Barkley spent his entire six-year career with the New York Giants before leaving for the Eagles. Cousins spent the past six seasons of his 12-year career with the Minnesota Vikings before leaving for the Falcons.

Speculation around the Eagles’ potential tampering began after Barkley’s college coach, Penn State’s James Franklin, implied that Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman spoke directly with Barkley, rather than his agent, during the negotiating window.

“For (Barkley) 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 during Penn State’s spring media day Tuesday.

An Eagles team spokesperson told The Athletic all recruiting is facilitated through the player’s agent.

Meanwhile, the Vikings made Cousins an offer for more than one year that included guaranteed money in year two, according to league sources. Ultimately, the Falcons’ offer exceeded how far Minnesota was willing to go.

Penalties could involve fines and a loss of a draft pick(s). This is standard for the league to look into such matters, the source said.

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(Photo: Dustin Satloff / Getty Images)

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