Kirk Cousins Snitches on Falcons for Tampering; Suggests Vikings Decisionmakers Weren’t Aligned

Photo: NFL

The Minnesota Vikings lost their starting quarterback since 2018 this week, when Kirk Cousins signed a 4-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. The contract is worth a total of $180 million dollars, including $100 million in total guarantees.

We still do not know what kind of offer the Vikings made to Cousins, but all signs so far point to them only offering one fully-guaranteed season, compared to Atlanta’s offer of 2+ years fully guaranteed. He opened his introductory press conference today with what could be seen as a shot across the bow at Minnesota general manager Kwesi-Adofo Mensah… maybe someone within the ownership group?

Kirk Cousins suggests division within Minnesota Vikings ranks?

In his opening statement, Kirk said that one of the main reasons for choosing the Falcons is a feeling that the organization is aligned from top to bottom. That everyone from the owner, to general manager, head coach and (now) quarterback are aligned, something he was told by a wise coach a long time ago is needed to win Super Bowls.

“A coach told me this when I was a young player in the league, a coach that I have a lot of respect for, he said, ‘when the owner, general manager and quarterback are on the same page, that’s when you really have a chance to win a super bowl. As I look at the Atlanta Falcons, I believe strongly that the owner, head coach, general manager, and quarterback can all be on the same page, and that’s exciting for me.”

Kirk Cousins during Falcons introductory press conference.

It’s widely believed that Kevin O’Connell desperately wanted Cousins to remain a Viking, but that others in the organization (my bet is Kwesi but I have no steam) was not as infatuated. Who ends up being right is yet to be determined, but it’s very interesting that this is how Kirk decided to open his presser today.

Conversations with Vikings felt year-to-year

From there, Kirk went on to pretty much confirm what a lot of reporters around Minnesota have been feeling, that life for Cousins at TCO Performance Center had been feeling very year-to-year recently, whereas the Falcons seemed like a place that wanted him to stay until retirement. In other words, the Vikings weren’t offering two fully guaranteed seasons, let alone some of three, like Atlanta did.

Related: Cam Newton Can’t Believe Falcons Signed Kirk Cousins Over Him

“In Minnesota, over the last couple offseasons, it was trending to being somewhat year to year. As we talked with Atlanta, it felt like, this was a place where, if I play at the level I expect to play, I can retire a Falcon.”

Kirk Cousins during Falcons introductory press conference.

Over his career, Kirk Cousins has made over $230 million dollars in salary alone, including $185 million just with the Minnesota Vikings. In that time, he’s collected just one playoff win, a statistic his haters cling to with dear life. After this new deal, he’ll add at least $100 million more on top of that number, and that’s before we even get into his paychecks from Pizza Ranch or Tostitos.

Related: Harrison Smith Agrees to Contract Restructure to Stay with Vikings

Before rupturing his achilles tendon in week 8 last year vs the Packers, Kirk had thrown for 2,331 yards (69.5% completion), 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Had he remained healthy, there’s a good chance he would have been a legitimate MVP candidate for the first time in his career.

Cousins snitches on Falcons for tampering

kirk cousins atlanta falcons
Photo: Atlanta Falcons

On Wednesday, though, he may have also been a snitch. During one moment in his presser, as pointed out first by Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk), it appears Kirk accidentally admitted to speaking with the Falcons before he wasn’t allowed to.

Cousins tells reporters, while raving about how great the entire organization has been so far, that he talked directly with the Falcons’ training staff on Tuesday, during the NFL negotiating period. Why is that a big deal, when his contract with Atlanta was announced on Monday? Because only agents are allowed to speak with teams during the negotiating period, not the pending free agents themselves.

“There’s great people here, 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 PR. I’m thinking, we’ve got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

Kirk Cousins during Falcons introductory press conference.

Related: Vikings ‘Have No Plans’ to Trade Justin Jefferson

If the NFL looks into the tampering allegations and finds them true, there is a lot at stake for Atlanta. The last time a team was called out by the league for tampering, it was this same type of situation, when Andy Reid accidentally admitted to it in passing during a public interview regarding the signing of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin back in 2016.

The Chiefs were stripped of a 3rd and 7th round pick (along with a $250K fine) for tampering with Maclin. You’d think the most expensive free agent on the market would cost Atlanta even more, given the precedent the NFL set back then.

Before you poo poo Florio, it’s important to remember that he knew Kyle Pitts was texting Cousins about the #8 uniform in Atlanta weeks ago, something Cousins confirmed the timeline of today. At the time, Pitts tried to deny it by mocking Florio on Twitter, after he first reported it. Hate him all you want, Florio was clearly onto something last week.

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