‘More Severe’ Tampering Punishment will Cost Falcons Draft Picks… but Will it Benefit Vikings?

kirk cousins, atlanta falcons, minnesota vikings, tampering
Photo: Atlanta Falcons (@Falcons - X)

The NFL Draft is almost here and that means we’re about to have a bunch of new Minnesota Vikings players, including a new franchise QB. But that’s not all. It also means that we’re closing in on a discipline decision from the NFL, regarding their investigation into the Atlanta Falcons, for tampering with then-pending free agent, Kirk Cousins, when and how they weren’t supposed to.

This is something that we’ve been paying attention to for awhile, ever since Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) brought it to light weeks ago. On Monday, though, the question is no longer about whether or not the Falcons will be punished.

Atlanta Falcons expected to receive “more severe” punishment for tampering

Instead, according to Adam Schefter (ESPN), it’s now about which of the Falcons draft picks (and how many) they will lose. But not only that, it’s also about what will happen with that/those lost pick(s). Remember, Atlanta holds the No. 8 pick in the first round.

All Schefty knows for sure is that the Falcons’ punishment is expected to be “more severe” than that of the Philadelphia Eagles, who are also expected to lose draft picks for this year’s draft, for their tampering with former Giants running back, Saquon Barkley.

The NFL’s investigation into alleged tampering charges against the Falcons for their involvement with then-free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Eagles for their involvement with then-free-agent running back Saquon Barkley is ongoing and could reach a conclusion as early as this week, per sources. Sources believe the discipline, which is likely to involve draft picks, is expected to be more severe for the Falcons.

Adam Schefter – ESPN

What does this mean for the Minnesota Vikings. Well, this is where the speculation comes in. Purple glasses wearing fans are hoping — and Florio believes this is what should happen — that the Vikings will receive a first round pick swap from the Falcons, since Kirk Cousins was still on their roster when the tampering occured.

Let’s talk about tampering pick swap precedent in the NFL

Kirk Cousins, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Tampering Allegations
Credit: Photo: Atlanta Falcons (@Falcons – X)

An unprecedented punishment like this would allow Minnesota to move up from No. 11 to No. 8, without needing a trade at all. But would a pick swap really be THAT unprecedented? No, no it would not.

Just last offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles settled with the NFL on a swap of 2023 3rd-round picks with the Arizona Cardinals, on top of surrendering their 4th round pick for the 2024 draft to the Cards, as well.

Related: Florio Wonders if Vikings are Waiting for Pick-Swap Tampering Reward from Falcons

That’s right, one of Arizona’s 4th round picks this weekend was sent to them via Philadelphia, this time last year, not because they tampered with one of the Cards’ pending free agents, but with one of their coaches. Now, that same team (the Eagles) is under investigation for tampering with players. Yet… the Falcons’ punishment is still expected to be worse…

Could Falcons’ tampering of Kirk Cousins benefit the Minnesota Vikings more than anyone ever could have imagined?

Which leads me to what I just heard on the radio this morning. The voice of the Vikings Paul Allen, on KFAN Monday, speculated whether or not a swap of the No. 8 and No. 11 picks are enough. He’s wondering if the NFL might be trying to send an even more extreme message…

Related: Adam Schefter Throws More Gas on the Drake Maye to Vikings Fire

If the league really wants to make a statement that stops tampering, PA suggests that commissioner Roger Goodell may force Atlanta to swap their No. 8 pick, not for Minnesota’s No. 11, but for their No. 23 — which would give the Vikings the No. 8 and No. 11 overall picks in the first round.

Now, that would be the extreme outcome. But there’s no doubt that anybody who has knowledge of this tampering investigation believes that what the Falcons did with Cousins is probably the most blatant example of a team openly tampering with another team’s player that the NFL has ever seen. So… anything is possible.

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