How worried should Falcons be about punishment for Kirk Cousins tampering?

NFL: NOV 05 Vikings at Falcons

The Falcons find themselves in the midst of a league investigation for their role in allegedly tampering with Kirk Cousins before the allotted period to do so.

As of Monday, there was no update from the NFL, according to the AJC. However, it seems pretty cut and dry. The Falcons clearly violated rules, and Cousins admitted as much.

“There’s great people here,” Cousins said during his introductory press conference. “And it’s not just the football team. I mean, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting, calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer, talking to our head of P.R. I’m thinking, we got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

So, how worried should the Falcons be about their potential punishment? Well, if you ask Mike Florio, they should be shaking in their boots. The Vikings superfan thinks Atlanta should be punished by way of a first-round pick swap with Minnesota.

“Or maybe the Vikings are quietly holding out hope that the end result of the investigation regarding Atlanta’s blatant tampering with Cousins (and it was blatant, frankly) will result in a flip-flop of picks No. 8 and No. 11. (There’s no specific reason to think that will happen, but it’s not impossible that the league would select this sanction — and announce it literally five minutes before the draft starts.),” Florio said.

I’m not sure that would be appropriate, especially because the Vikings didn’t even file a complaint against the Falcons. The AJC referenced the tampering investigation into the Chiefs when they signed Jeremy Maclin in 2015, in which Kansas City was stripped of a 2016 third-round pick, a sixth-rounder in 2017, and fined $250,000 as well as individual fines for Andy Reid and John Dorsey.

What Florio is peddling is purely fan fiction. He references the Cardinals and Eagles situation from last offseason as precedent.

“The NFL set the precedent last year, with the sudden and unexpected news of the Cardinals-Eagles settlement. It would make sense for it to happen again, between the Falcons and the Vikings,” Mike Florio added.

The Eagles and Cardinals swapped third-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, and it was announced right before the draft. I think a punishment is deserved, mainly because Cousins is dumb enough to just blatantly admit impermissible contact with the team.

However, swapping first-round picks seems egregious. The discussions before the legal tampering period surely didn’t impact his free agency. At the end of the day, the Falcons were willing to give Kirk Cousins more years, guaranteed money, and a higher annual salary.

There is no reason to believe that if no conversations had taken place before the legal tampering period that Cousins would still be a Viking. A punishment similar to the Eagles-Cardinals last year seems appropriate.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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