Kirk Cousins, Falcons May Be in Trouble

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

On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings found out that they would need to find a new starting QB for the 2024 season.

Kirk Cousins officially agreed to a four-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons worth a total of $180 million. It was something that had been rumored for weeks, but now, it seems that the QB and Atlanta may be in a bit of trouble with the NFL for how they went about their negotiations.

Kirk Cousins, Falcons to Be Investigated for Tampering

Kirk Cousins
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and guard Austin Schlottmann (65) warm up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Ironically, for the deal that was agreed upon during the “legal tampering period,” the Falcons are going to be investigated by the NFL for… tampering. Dan Graziano of ESPN reported the news, tweeting, “Per a league source, the NFL is looking into potential tampering by the Eagles and the Falcons related to the free-agent signings of Saquon Barkley and Kirk Cousins.”

This potential problem came to the surface on Wednesday when Cousins held his introductory press conference in Atlanta. He mentioned meeting the Falcons’ head trainer and many people within the organization. Cousins said, “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 P.R. I’m thinking, we got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

As innocent as the comments may seem, there is a problem. By the law in the NFL, Cousins wasn’t allowed to have direct contact with the organization before Wednesday when free agency officially started. Take a look at this little blurb from Mike Florio:

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

“Most are discreet. The Falcons got a little loose, a little careless. Beyond the question of whether tight end Kyle Pitts began recruiting Cousins on his own or at the behest or with the knowledge of the team, there’s reason to believe the team directly communicated with Cousins during the 52-hour negotiating window. That’s clearly prohibited, as the Chiefs learned eight years ago when they lost a third-round pick for speaking directly to receiver Jeremy Maclin during the legal tampering period.”

Of course, the assumption around the league is that things like this happen all the time. However, teams usually do a good job of keeping this sort of thing under wraps. Cousins, on the other hand, flat out admitted to it.

As a result, the league is going to need to investigate and find out what actually happened behind the scenes in this negotiation process.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) scrambles against the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Even Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell alluded to the tampering a couple weeks ago while at the NFL Combine. “The combine gave everybody else an opportunity, whether they’re supposed to be or not, to maybe have some conversations,” O’Connell told Rich Eisen regarding his since-former QB.

Perhaps the investigation will end in nothing, but Atlanta could face penalties in terms of draft capital if they are found to be guilty of tampering.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.