Kirk Cousins Tampering Investigation Expected to Result in ‘More Significant Discipline’ for Falcons

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Photo: Atlanta Falcons (@Falcons - X)

One of the Minnesota Vikings biggest areas of focus this offseason was how they would handle the quarterback position and what that meant for Kirk Cousins, who ultimately decided to sign with the Atlanta Falcons.

But there were questions raised about some illegal flirting between Cousins and the Falcons, prior to the legal negotiating window opened. Those allegations turned into an NFL investigation into possible tampering by Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons Tampering With Kirk Cousins

A short stretch prior to the opening of free agency allows player agents to discuss contracts with interested teams, prior to the opening of free agency. This “legal tampering period” or “early negotiating window” is meant to give pending free agents an opportunity to gauge the market before signing on any dotted lines.

It’s possible that Cousins and the Falcons illegally negotiated both before and during that window, questions that will supposedly be answered this week, per Adam Schefter.

In the case of Kirk Cousins, it appears as though the Atlanta Falcons were relatively aggressive in their tampering attempts. Not only did Kyle Pitts recruit his new quarterback way way early on (and possibly at the direction of his employer), but Cousins said himself that he was meeting and talking with medical trainers and coaches before and during the negotiating window.

What the league does in response to the Atlanta Falcons tampering situation remains to be seen. Largely the decision is a discretionary one with no set parameters. Going into the 2024 NFL Draft, there was some hope that the league would force the Falcons to swap first round picks with the Vikings, which would bumped Minnesota up three slots to No. 8.

Related: Mike Florio Puts NFL on Blast After Kirk Cousins Poo Poo’s Tampering Allegations

Obviously that didn’t happen as there was no resolution by draft night, where the Falcons picked Cousins’ future replacement, Michael Penix Jr. The Vikings ended up trading up one slot to No. 10 and drafting QB of the future J.J. McCarthy.

Could Minnesota Vikings benefit from Falcons tampering?

But now that disciplinary action is ready to be levied, what sort of punishment will the NFL hand down to the Atlanta Falcons? More importantly, will the Minnesota Vikings benefit at all from it?

That much we don’t know, but Schefter is being told that the Falcons’ will be more severe than what the Eagles will see with their tampering of Saquon Barkley.

One league source indicated that the Falcons’ alleged transgressions are considered more significant, and the discipline is expected to be more severe for Atlanta. In the past, the league has taken tampering seriously and disciplined teams accordingly.

Adam Schefter – ESPN

Kirk Cousins wasn’t going to stay in Minnesota after the contract that Atlanta had presented, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah astutely wasn’t going to give the same guarantees.

That doesn’t mean Minnesota didn’t attempt to retain his services though, and that certainly would have been more difficult if Cousins was having illegal conversations with the Falcons (probably others) at every turn.

Related: Annie Agar Takes Aim at Kirk Cousins’ New Employer

The Atlanta Falcons paid a substantial amount of money to Kirk Cousins in hopes that his presence under center would push them towards a Super Bowl. While that remains to be seen, the way in which they went about the deal may cost them… and hopefully benefit the Vikings in some way.

Finding out the fate of the situation is just another part of the puzzle for the Minnesota Vikings offseason, but it will close the book on a storyline that has been ongoing for some time.

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