June 24, 2024

According to sources close to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL’s investigation into the alleged tampering involving the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles, concerning quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Saquon Barkley, respectively, could conclude as early as this week. Additionally, Schefter’s sources suggest that the Falcons are likely to face more severe consequences from the league compared to the Eagles.

The ongoing investigation by the NFL into allegations of tampering against the Falcons, regarding their dealings with then-free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, and the Eagles, regarding their dealings with then-free-agent running back Saquon Barkley, may reach a resolution as soon as this week, according to insider information.

The Falcons have refuted any violations of tampering regulations during their negotiations and subsequent acquisition of Cousins as their new starting quarterback. When officially introducing Cousins as their QB earlier in March, the four-time Pro Bowler made comments that hinted at potential contact with the Falcons before it was permissible under league rules. Given Cousins’ previous season-ending injury in 2023, there may have been a motivation for the Falcons to assess his medical condition before finalizing any negotiations.

Regarding the Eagles, allegations of tampering stem from remarks made by Saquon Barkley’s former college coach, James Franklin, who seemingly disclosed that Philadelphia’s general manager, Howie Roseman, directly engaged with the running back. Such direct communication with players is prohibited even during the legal tampering period.

While the potential repercussions for the Falcons and/or the Eagles remain uncertain pending the investigation’s outcome, past cases offer insight into potential penalties. For instance, two cases highlighted by Schefter provide precedents:

1. The Miami Dolphins were penalized for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton on three occasions between 2019 and 2022. As a result, they forfeited their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round selection. Team owner Stephen Ross was fined $1.5 million, and vice chairman Bruce Beal was fined $500,000.

2. The Kansas City Chiefs forfeited their 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round selection for tampering with Jeremy Maclin in 2015. Additionally, the Chiefs were fined $250,000. Coach Andy Reid received a $75,000 fine, while general manager John Dorsey was fined $25,000.

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