Verdict on Kirk Cousins Tampering Ordeal Expected Soon

tampering
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons on March 13th, but Atlanta may have violated some rules while acquiring the veteran passer.

Verdict on Kirk Cousins Tampering Ordeal Expected Soon

Some Vikings fans and NFL media sources have speculated that punishment could be severe, and those theories are trending in the right direction. The only item missing, though, is that Minnesota may not benefit from the penance.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Because the Vikings were adversely affected by the Falcons’ alleged deeds, a working theory has claimed a pick swap could be the result of Atlanta’s tampering. However, with the draft three days away, ESPN’s Adam Schefter opined on the situation, and penalties for the Falcons — not goodies to Minnesota — might be the likelier outcome.

“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.

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About two weeks ago, ProFootballTalk‘s Mike Florio advanced an idea involving a 1st-Round pick swap between Minnesota and Atlanta, which, of course, excited purple and gold enthusiasts.

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.”

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback K. Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

The “other” team(s) gained nothing in the example above.

“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,” Schefter concluded.

And Florio wrote earlier this month, “Maybe the Vikings are quietly holding out hope that the end result of the investigation regarding Atlanta’s blatant tampering with Cousins (and it was blatant, frankly) will result in a flip-flop of picks No. 8 and No. 11.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The takeaway? The Falcons will be penalized — almost as a guarantee if the allegations are valid — but don’t expect a splashy gain for Minnesota. The Florio-driven pick swap would assuredly send a message, but there isn’t much precedent for the aggrieved when tampering penalties are announced. A mid-to-late-round pick swap would likely be the best-case scenario for the Vikings — if anything happens at all for Minnesota’s sake.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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