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Eagles deny direct contact between Howie Roseman, Saquon Barkley during negotiating period

During the 52-hour, pre-free-agency negotiating window, teams can talk directly to agents. They can't talk to the player, unless the player has no agent and represents himself.

That's relevant today because an item in SI.com suggests that Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman spoke directly to Giants running back Saquon Barkley during the negotiating window. The Eagles have denied it.

From Mark Wogenrich of SI.com, Penn State coach James Franklin intimated on Tuesday that Roseman directly spoke to Barkley as part of the recruiting process, which focused on the proximity of Philadelphia to Penn State, where Barkley played college football.

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

Through a team spokesman, the Eagles told PFT that all player recruiting is facilitated through the player's agent.

Yes, tampering is rampant when it comes to free agency. It's hard to imagine any team running afoul of the bright-line rule regarding direct contact with represented players. In 2016, the NFL stripped a third-round pick from the Chiefs for having direct contact with then-Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin during the negotiating window.

If/when it happens, there would likely be a digital trail — unless burner phones were involved. It would be similar to the digital footprints that would exist if, for instance, the Falcons gathered medical information about quarterback Kirk Cousins in a way that violates the rules. With the league only rarely, and seemingly randomly, enforcing the rules, some teams might view it as a risk worth taking.

Regardless, the Eagles have denied that Roseman spoke directly to Barkley.