Atlanta Falcons confident no tampering occurred in Kirk Cousins deal

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank does not believe the team committed tampering before acquiring quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency, as the NFL continues to investigate the issue.

Cousins officially joined the Falcons on a four-year, $180million deal on the opening day of free agency on March 13.

That announcement came two days after the Minnesota Vikings revealed they had failed to agree fresh terms with the 35-year-old, with his agent Mike McCarthy confirming his move to Atlanta later that day.

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Per the rules of the NFL’s ‘legal tampering period’, all contact between teams and free agents between noon ET on March 11 and the start of free agency on March 13 had to be via an agent, unless a team had granted their player permission to hold discussions with other interested parties.

At Cousins’ introductory news conference, he indicated he had spoken to the Falcons’ team trainer during the legal tampering period.

Speaking on March 13, Cousins said: “When you get here and you look around, you think, boy, there’s great people here.

“It’s not just the football team, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer and talking to our head of PR, I’m thinking we’ve got good people here.”

ESPN subsequently reported that the NFL is investigating whether Atlanta broke league rules, but Blank is confident they did not do so.

“The tampering deal, we obviously don’t believe we tampered, and we shared all the information with the league,” Blank told reporters at the NFL’s Annual Meeting on Monday.

“They’ll review the process and the facts and they are in the middle of doing that, and whatever the result is, we’ll deal with it.”

Atlanta have not enjoyed a winning season or reached the playoffs since the 2017 campaign, but Blank believes the arrival of Cousins gives fans a reason to be excited for 2024.

“He’s a very high-quality quarterback, he’s performed at a high level for 12 years in the league and feel pretty fortunate having him as a quarterback and look forward to seeing the results with him,” Blank said.

“He has all the intangibles, not just the tangibles, but the intangibles. He’s in house, ready to go to work, he is working and let’s see how it unfolds.”

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