The Falcons/Kirk Cousins Tampering Investigation Should Be Resolved Soon

The Minnesota Vikings lost Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons back on March 13th.

Shortly afterwards, a tampering investigation unfolded because Cousins mentioned during his opening press conference being in touch with multiple members of the Falcons’ organization before the official start of free agency.

With the 2024 NFL Draft just a few days away, the resolution of that tampering investigation could be coming sooner rather than later.

The Kirk Cousins Tampering Decision Could Come Soon

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

“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,” Schefter wrote Monday morning.

Schefter continued, “Sources believe the discipline, which is likely to involve draft picks, is expected to be more severe for the Falcons. Here are two examples of tampering discipline from the NFL: 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. ”

The notable absence from these examples is any sort of recuperations given to the teams that were negatively impacted by the tampering. Neither New England or New Orleans received draft compensation from Miami for the Tom Brady/Sean Payton tampering that occurred last spring. Nor did the Eagles receive anything for the Chiefs’ tampering with WR Jeremy Maclin.

Kirk Cousins
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If the Falcons were simply penalized without any compensation being given to the Vikings, it would go against a theory that the two teams could be forced to swap the No. 8 and No. 11 overall picks.

The theory was pioneered by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who wrote a couple weeks ago, “Given the manner in which the NFL handled last year’s tampering by the Cardinals with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, it’s impossible to rule out an announcement that drops just before the first round of the draft. The Falcons have the eighth pick in round one. The Vikings have the eleventh. What if the punishment is as simple as the Falcons and Vikings flip-flopping the two picks?”

Overall, it does appear that the Falcons are destined to be penalized in some sort of fashion if the reports from Schefter are to come true. However, there may not be a direct positive for the Vikings as a result of this punishment.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with teammates prior to their game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

That being said, if the Falcons were forced to forfeit their first-round pick (such as what happened to Miami last spring), it would indirectly impact the Vikings. Because they stand below Atlanta in the draft, Minnesota would slide a spot up the board, thus potentially making it easier to trade up for a QB.

It remains to be seen if the penalties will be that harsh, but that might be the only scenario where the Vikings see some sort of benefit.


Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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