Past two months have been tumultuous for Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins (18) attempts a pass next to quarterback Michael Penix (9) during minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins (18) attempts a pass next to quarterback Michael Penix (9) during minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — It has been a tumultuous two months since quarterback Kirk Cousins signed with the Falcons.

While trying to recover from an Achilles surgery after signing a four-year contract worth up to $180 million March 12, the franchise was hit with allegations of tampering in signing Cousins and then drafted his eventual successor in the first round of the NFL draft.

Things have settled down, and Cousins has accepted the franchise’s business decision.

“Mike has been great,” Cousins said Tuesday after practice. “There is always going to be competition in this league. You just have to go out there and earn it. I’m going to control what I can control. Also, understand there is a lot that you don’t control.”

Cousins compared the drafting of quarterback Michael Penix with his college days at Michigan State when he received a call from coach Mark Dantonio telling him that the Spartans were signing Nick Foles. He also compared it with when Washington selected him in the fourth round in 2012 after they drafted Robert Griffin III in the first round of the same draft.

“There is always going to be competition,” Cousins said.

Cousins still believes the quarterback meeting room will be a sanctuary.

“The quarterback room is a working force for one another,” Cousins said.

The league is reviewing Cousins’ signing for tampering. He may have had illegal contact with several team officials during the tampering period.

“The league is kind of going through that,” Cousins said. “I’ll let them do that. There is not a whole lot there.”

Cousins would not address if he would have signed with the Falcons had he known they were about to draft Penix with the eighth overall pick in the draft.

“I don’t really deal with hypotheticals,” Cousins said. “We could go down that path for a long time in a lot of ways, and it just doesn’t do us any good. I’m excited for this opportunity that I have. I think it’s a real privilege to be quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. I’m trying to make good on the opportunity given to me.”

With the organized team activities moving at a slower pace, Cousins worked from the pocket with no rush and no players around his feet.

“Great practice today. It was fun to get out there and actually be playing football,” Cousins said. “My focus right now is to try to get to know everybody. Build that continuity. Get to know the system, coaches, teammates and try to build up a shared history as fast as we can.”

It was important to Cousins to partake in these drills. Penix, Taylor Heinicke and rookie undrafted free agent John Paddock also got in some throws. Cousins’ drop-backs were fluid, and his passes came out on time and were accurate.

“The practices are the best way to do that,” Cousins said of building those shared experiences. “The last couple of days have been very helpful, and we had a couple of veteran practices back in April as well.”

He believes that things are coming along well.

“Off to a good start,” Cousins said. “Long ways to go. I keep trying to take it one day at a time not only in football. One day at a time on moving to Atlanta. Getting into our house. Getting settled. There is just so much change right now. We just have to take it one day at a time and believe that by Labor Day weekend, we’ll be ready to go and feeling really good.”

Cousins noted that he was 6-1/2 months into his recovery and that the doctors told him nine months. He noted that running back Cam Akers came back in five and half months. So, he figures that somewhere between five and half and nine months for him.

His surgery was Nov. 1. The nine-month projection would put him at the end of July, in time for the start of training camp.

“It’s coming along really well,” Cousins said. “Today I felt the best I’ve felt. ... Also, it’s one day at a time. The Falcons’ training staff is doing great job with me on a daily basis with the rehab. I think everything is trending in the right direction.”

Cousins, 35, is set to enter his 13th season in the league.

“I wasn’t sure when we I stood here in March, and I’d just gotten here, how much I’d be able to do at practice, but today I felt like I was able to do everything that I would have normally done, and that’s big for that … stuff I talked about initially, getting continuity, shared history together. That’s a huge help. I’m excited to see how fast we can heal from here.”