Falcons lose draft decide, fined by NFL for tampering throughout Kirk Cousins pursuit

Falcons lose draft decide, fined by NFL for tampering throughout Kirk Cousins pursuit

The four-year contract Kirk Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason contains an estimated $100 million in ensures, however that is not all of the franchise can be paying for.

An NFL investigation decided that the Falcons violated the league’s tampering coverage throughout its pursuit of then-free agent quarterback in addition to broad receiver Darnell Mooney and tight finish Charlie Woerner.

On Thursday, the league introduced that Atlanta would lose a fifth-round decide within the 2025 draft. The crew may also be fined $250,000. Cousins agreed to the $180 million deal shortly after the NFL’s 52-hour authorized tampering window opened on March 11.

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) seems on from the sidelines in the course of the second half of an NFL soccer sport between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, January 7, 2024.  (Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photos)

In the meantime, Woerner agreed to a three-year deal on the identical day. Mooney then agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal simply someday later.

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It isn’t unusual for NFL groups and gamers to return to phrases on contracts in the course of the authorized tampering window, after which formally signal offers as soon as the free company interval formally opens. Whereas Cousins was not the primary participant to conform to a deal in March, he did make feedback throughout his introductory information convention that raised some eyebrows and seemingly sparked the NFL’s investigation.

Kirk Cousins speaks to the media

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks throughout a information convention Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Flowery Department, Ga. Cousins has had one playoff victory in his lengthy profession. The Falcons are betting at the very least $100 million that he is the man who can cause them to the primary Tremendous Bowl title in franchise historical past.  (AP Picture/Mike Stewart)

Cousins, who’s returning after a torn proper Achilles tendon that ended his 2023 season after eight video games, indicated that he had spoken to the crew’s medical workers earlier than they had been permitted to have contact.

“There’s nice individuals right here,” Cousins mentioned in the course of the press convention. “And it’s not simply the soccer crew. I imply, I’m wanting on the assist workers. Assembly — calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic coach, speaking to our head of PR. I’m considering, we obtained good individuals right here. And that’s thrilling to be part of.”

Groups are permitted to have direct contact with participant’s brokers, however not the gamers themselves, in the course of the two-day negotiation interval. The one exception is when a participant would not make use of an agent and represents himself.

Falcons common supervisor Terry Fontenot has additionally been fined $50,000.

Terry Fontenot speaks to the media

Basic supervisor Terry Fontenot of the Atlanta Falcons speaks to the media in the course of the NFL Mix on the Indiana Conference Heart on February 27, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Stacy Revere/Getty Photos)

“Whereas the coverage permits golf equipment to interact with and negotiate all points of an NFL participant contract with the licensed agent of any potential unrestricted free agent in the course of the two-day negotiating interval, any direct contact between the participant and an worker or consultant of the membership is prohibited,” the league mentioned in an announcement. 

“This contains dialogue of journey preparations or different logistical issues, which the membership acknowledges occurred with regard to those three gamers.”

Darnell Mooney warms up

Large receiver Darnell Mooney, #11 of the Chicago Bears, warms up previous to an NFL soccer sport towards the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Area on October 15, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. (Todd Rosenberg/Getty Photos)

Elsewhere, the NFL cleared the Philadelphia Eagles of any wrongdoing their courtship of operating again Saquon Barkley. 

The league mentioned its investigation “didn’t uncover ample proof to assist a discovering that the anti-tampering coverage was violated.”

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The league has cracked down on tampering previously, with the Miami Dolphins receiving essentially the most extreme penalty in 2022.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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