Report: Falcons punishment for Kirk Cousins tampering expected soon

NFL: OCT 01 Vikings at Panthers

The Falcons are preparing for the NFL Draft, where they hope to land an immediate contributor for a team in a win-now window after giving Kirk Cousins $180 million in free agency.

However, they may have a wrench thrown into those plans because a punishment for tampering with Cousins before the legal tampering window is expected soon.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, a conclusion could be reached as early as this week for the Falcons and Cousins, as well as the Eagles for their involvement with then free-agent running back Saquon Barkley.

Schefter went on to say that his sources believe that Atlanta’s discipline, which is likely to involve draft picks, is expected to be more ‘severe’ compared to Philadelphia.

Here are the two examples that Schefter referenced in the report:

The Dolphins forfeited their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round selection for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton on three occasions from 2019 to 2022. Team owner Stephen Ross and vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal were fined; Ross was fined $1.5 million, while Beal was fined $500,000.

The Chiefs forfeited their 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round selection for tampering with Jeremy Maclin in 2015. The Chiefs were also fined $250,000. Coach Andy Reid was fined $75,000, and general manager John Dorsey was fined $25,000.

If you ask Mike Florio, the Falcons should be very worried. The Vikings superfan and NFL insider 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.

At least one thing is true, 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.”

Swapping first-round picks seems egregious, but I may be biased. 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.

John Byrum/Icon Sportswire


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