NFL insider claims league let Falcons off easy for Kirk Cousins tampering in free agency despite $250,000 fine

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
NFL insider claims league let Falcons off easy for Kirk Cousins tampering in free agency despite $250,000 fine

Kirk Cousins is a member of the Atlanta Falcons. However, the methods to get him allegedly violated the NFL's tampering rules. As a result, Cousins' Falcons suffered a punishment and a public relations storm.

One NFL insider claimed that the punishment was not nearly enough. Writing for the Boston Globe, insider Ben Volin called the consequences a "big nothing-burger."

"The resolutions that were announced Thursday amounted to a big nothing-burger. ... The light punishment tells me the NFL only investigated it because Cousins basically told on himself during his news conference, and that the Vikings weren’t all too upset to lose Cousins in free agency."

Kirk Cousins' Falcons lost a fifth-round pick and were fined $250,000 while the general manager behind the transgression was fined $50,000. According to Volin, the NFL claimed the punishment was appropriate because the contact with Kirk Cousins "happened during the league’s “legal tampering” period at the beginning of free agency."

4 teams who were fined for tampering in recent years, excluding Kirk Cousins

Tom Brady at Birmingham City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Tom Brady at Birmingham City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship

#1 - Miami Dolphins: Tom Brady

Tom Brady and the Miami Dolphins were fined a first and third-round pick in 2023 for their tampering of the quarterback, per ESPN. At the time, Brady allegedly attempted to scheme his way to joining the Dolphins potentially to join Sean Payton. However, the team was caught and unlike Cousins, Brady never wound up with the team.

#2 - Kansas City Chiefs: Jeremy Maclin

The Kansas City Chiefs attempted to get their hands on Jeremy Maclin around 2015. They managed to get him, but they were caught and fined a 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick. Maclin joined the Chiefs in 2015 and went on to have a 1000-yard season for the franchise, per Pro Football Reference.

#3 - Detroit Lions: Chiefs players

The Detroit Lions attempted to get multiple Chiefs players and were fined a seventh-round pick in 2011. The Chiefs had trouble staying within the limits of the rules during the early-mid 2010s, it appears.

#4 - San Francisco 49ers: Lance Briggs

In 2008, the 49ers were fined a fifth-round pick for their transgressions with obtaining Lance Briggs. It cost them a 2008 fifth-round pick. Briggs remained with the Chicago Bears until 2014. The 49ers never got him.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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