Falcons’ tampering case remains under review with NFL draft approaching

FLOWERY BRANCH — The review of the Falcons’ case of tampering in the signing of quarterback Kirk Cousins is ongoing.

As of Monday afternoon, there was no update and no timeline for the review had been set, according to the NFL office.

Last year’s tampering case between the Eagles and Cardinals was settled before the start of the draft. The current draft is set to start April 25.

In 2023, the Eagles accused the Cardinals of tampering with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. The Cardinals eventually hired him as their head coach. The two teams agreed to a settlement that called for the Eagles to trade the No. 94 pick in the 2023 draft and a 2024 fifth-round pick for the 66th pick in 2023 before the start of the draft.

In his first comments to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since the signing of Cousins, Falcons owner Arthur Blank denied that the team tampered in violation of league rules.

“The tampering deal, we obviously don’t believe we tampered,” Blank said recently at the league meetings in Orlando, Florida. “We shared all of the information with the league. They’ll review the process and the facts. They are in the middle of doing that. Whatever the result is, we’ll deal with it.”

The Falcons signed Cousins to a four-year contract worth up to $180 million March 13. The NFL is reviewing the signing for possible tampering violations.

The Falcons initially issued a statement that said, “Due to the NFL’s review, we are unable to provide information or have additional comment.”

Blank was the first team official to comment on the matter.

The Falcons were eager to sign the veteran quarterback after not making the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. He is slated to replace Desmond Ridder.

The Eagles also are being investigated for alleged tampering in the signing of running back Saquon Barkley, and they denied any violations.

Tampering violations are considered serious by the league.

For tampering with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Chiefs were stripped of their third-round pick in 2016, their sixth-round pick in 2017 and fined $250,000. Chiefs coach Andy Reid was fined $50,000 and then-general manager John Dorsey was fined $25,000.

The Chiefs were cited for “improper contact” before the start of free agency. Maclin played in Philadelphia for Reid before signing a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs.

Minnesota did not file a complaint against the Falcons.

During Cousins’ introductory press conference March 13, he seem to intimate that he spoke with the team’s athletic trainer and the head of public relations before signing with the club. He also discussed talking with team executive Ryan Pace and then admitted to helping to recruit wide receiver Darnell Mooney from the Bears.

Also, there was matter of tight end Kyle Pitts helping to recruit Cousins to the Falcons and if he was directed by team officials.

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