NFL rumors: Falcons to be hit with ‘more severe’ tampering discipline than Eagles

The Falcons and Eagles are still in hot water amid tampering investigation.

The "I'm in danger meme' but add Atlanta Falcons cap to Ralph

There is a belief that the NFL’s investigation of the alleged tampering of the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles involving quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Saquon Barkley could end as early as this week, according to sources of Adam Schefter of ESPN. Moreover, Schefter noted that his sources think that the Falcons will get a more serious punishment than the Eagles from the league.

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.

Sources believe the discipline, which is likely to involve draft picks, is expected to be more severe for the Falcons.

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins during a pregame ritual before an Atlanta United match against FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Falcons have already denied that they violated any tampering rules when they were in the process of and when they completed the transaction that got them a new starting quarterback in Cousins.  It can be remembered that when Atlanta officially introduced Cousins as the franchise’s new QB back in March, the four-time Pro Bowler seemingly hinted about being in contact with the Falcons before it’s legal for the two sides to do so. Cousins suffered a season-ending injury in 2023, so there’s already a possible impetus for the Falcons to want at least to check out the QB’s medical status before finalizing negotiations.

As for the Eagles, the tampering allegations can be traced back to comments made by Barkley’s former college head coach at Penn State, James Franklin, who appeared to have inadvertently divulged that Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman made a pitch directly to the running back. Even during the legal tampering period, teams are not allowed to talk straight to the players.

While it can’t be ascertained at the moment what possible punishment the Falcons and/or the Eagles would get from the NFL if allegations were proven to be true, there are precedents upon which people can base speculations. Take for example the two cases noted by Schefter:

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.

Social media reacts to latest news on Atlanta, Philadelphia tampering investigation

“I wonder if the Falcons will regret all those “assets” they will forfeit in tampering charges to get Kirk Cousins My team is so dumb 🥲,” said X (formerly Twitter) user @RiseUpReader.

“If the Falcons lose their #8 selection in the Draft for Tampering with the Kirk Cousins Deal. It would almost guarantee that the Bears will have one of the WRs available to them when they pick,” theorized @IrishBearsShow.

“As a completely unbiased observer I think the Falcons should forfeit #8. Or at least move back to the end of the 1st round. Can’t be tampering in Big Rodge’s league,” opined @KevinSullivan9.

“If the Giants are given Draft comp for the Eagles tampering with Saquon, but the Vikings get nothing for the Falcons line stepping with Kurt….. Tells you everything you need to know about the league,” said @PurpleForTheWin.

“I think the Eagles should be stripped of picks 50 & 53 for tampering 😏,” chimed in @JackDuffin.

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