Vikings Probably Won’t Be Compensated for Falcons + Kirk Cousins Tampering… but Rules Say They Could

Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins has departed for Atlanta to join the Falcons. In his introductory press conference, he essentially acknowledged tampering by revealing his contact with members of the training staff and players of the team prior to Wednesday’s official start of free agency.

The NFL is currently investigating the matter. But plenty of questions have risen surrounding what penalties the Falcons could potentially face if they are found guilty. Recent reports suggest that the Falcons may be facing the loss of a first-round pick, as indicated by ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.

“One executive with a team not attached to the situation suggested that, if Cousins actually met with the Falcons’ head athletic trainer… the Falcons should lose a 1st-round draft pick.”

Mike Florio – ProFootballTalk

Will Minnesota Vikings receive Atlanta Falcons’ seized draft picks for tampering with Kirk Cousins

The precedent has already been set in the past, for tampering when the 2016 Kansas City Chiefs lost a 3rd round pick and just last season when the Dolphins lost a 1st rounder for tampering with Tom Brady.

Neither team had to transfer their picks to a rival team. While it hasn’t happened yet, the NFL rulebook does state a “transfer” of picks as a possible punishment for tampering.

Specific Penalties: Any violation of this Anti-tampering Policy will subject the involved club and/or person to severe disciplinary action by the Commissioner. In such cases, in addition to all other penalties provided in the Constitution and Bylaws, the Commissioner may award or transfer a selection choice or choices and/or deprive the offending club of a selection choice or choices, and/or may fine the offending club and/or may fine or suspend with or without pay any involved individuals as appropriate. The League office will promulgate to all clubs the details of any penalties imposed for tampering.

NFL Anti-Tampering Policy

The policy goes on to state that the Vikings’ compensation could come down to whether or not they officially “certified” the complaint in time. What does that entail? No idea…

The Commissioner may award compensation to the offended club if it certifies a complaint that initiates an investigation against the offending club. If the offended club declined or otherwise failed to certify such a complaint after the facts of the matter became known or reasonably should have become known to the offended club, the offended club may not receive any potential award of compensation.

NFL Anti-Tampering Policy

Losing a first-round pick (#8 overall if they lose this year’s) would certainly hurt the Falcons badly, and it would not get Kirk off on the right foot with fans in Atlanta, who are pumped about what the team could add with the No. 8 overall pick.

But if it were to transfer to the Vikings, or even if they were to get another selection further down the draft board than No. 8 overall, that would make the sting of losing Kirk hurt a lot less… depending on how high the pick is.

Related: Minnesota Vikings Next Franchise QB Odds, Following Kirk Cousins’ Departure

The Vikings could see some compensatory picks sent their way for how things unfolded this offseason, and they could be as valuable as third-round selections. Most likely, those comp pics will be that of the standard variety, for free agency losses like Kirk, Danielle Hunter and others.

Not because of the Falcons tampering… but this could be the most egregious case of tampering yet, so we can’t rule any of it out. Jeremy Maclin was a depth wide receiver when the Chiefs tampered with him. Tom Brady never ended up with the Dolphins and they still lost a 1st rounder.

Kirk Cousins was the most valuable free agent on the market and the team that landed him is the team that is being accused of tampering. So don’t give up hope yet, is what I am saying… but don’t hold your breath either.

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